The Shrinking Police Service Is a Bit Closer To Home Now

BBC News – West Mercia Police cuts the number of stations with public counters.

 

Front counters will close at 21 police stations and opening hours cut at another six, West Mercia Police has announced.

They will be replaced with an intercom linked to a police operator. Who am I to tell Mr Bill Longmore that this is not acceptable, but it isn’t?  21 Police Stations being linked to a Comms Office via an intercom.  There are some reasonable size towns represented in the list below, by no means restricted to remote, out of the way villages.

The changes will come into effect on 1 September

  • Closed: Bridgnorth, Bromsgrove, Bromyard, Church Stretton, Droitwich, Kington, Ledbury, Leominster, Ludlow, Malvern, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Peterchurch, Ross-on-Wye, Rubery, Shrewsbury Town, South Wye, Stourport-on-Severn, Wellington, Wem and Whitchurch

 

  • Reduced hours: Hereford, Kidderminster, Redditch, Telford and Worcester police stations open to the public from 08:00 – 20:00 six days a week and 10:00 – 16:00 on Sunday and bank holidays. Shrewsbury Police Station open from 08:00 – 16:00 from Monday to Friday and 09:00 – 17:00 on Saturday and 10:00 – 16:00 on Sundays and bank holidays

These closures are serious, unlike the PCC’s website which, in my humble opinion, resembles a bad joke.

I visited the website in response to the above story, hoping to find more information, or maybe a valid justification for these closures.  The very first thing that struck my eye at the top of the page was a strap line :-Front Line Police Services To Be Protected”  Oh good I thought, it’s not all doom and gloom, so I clicked on it to get the story, and this is where it took me

Bill responds to the latest HMIC report ‘responding to austerity’

Captain Bill had this to say about protecting Front Line Services  “This report highlights the financial restraints which have been placed on West Mercia Police and I am pleased to see that it recognises how well it has coped with these.
“Despite making savings, the force is still delivering a good service to the people of West Mercia and frontline services have been, and will continue to be, protected.
“It is quite obvious that the police service will face ongoing restraint. I will explore every aspect of policing to see where efficiencies can be made to ensure that we continue to achieve value for money for our residents.”

 

Well, that’s alright then, Bill says it is so.  I accept that Front Counters aren’t Front Line Services in the Blue Light sense, but they are frequently the first interaction between Police and Public in any manner of situation, and should never be under-estimated.  Whoever is manning the Front Counter, be they Police, Police Staff or Volunteer, they are clearly not ‘Response’ but I would argue that it’s a Front Line function, although clearly not regarded as such in West Mercia, eh Bill?

On a slightly different subject, I did giggle when I discovered that the West Mercia PCC publicly published his decisions, 17 of them this year it seems, and here they are, in all their glory.

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6 thoughts on “The Shrinking Police Service Is a Bit Closer To Home Now

  1. West Mercia released this today…amongst the ways it tells you to report Hate Crimes is at a Police Station or to a Police Officer……living in Bromsgrove cannot remember the last time I saw a Police officer walking around…..looks like CAB are going to do the Police’s job……Sergeant Ian Blanchard, from the Malvern Safer Neighbourhood Team, added: “The simplest way to stop someone committing a hate crime is to report it, whether that is to the police, here at the CAB or one of the other methods available to victims.
    “Between the police and the courts we have additional powers to ensure people who commit hate crimes are brought to justice and can’t continue to victimise people because of who they are. We will also ensure a comprehensive package of support is put in place for victims.”
    Other ways of reporting a hate crime include:
    Report it online at http://www.report-it.org.uk
    In an emergency call 999 or for non-emergencies call 101
    Call in at a police station or stop a police officer in the street

  2. Alan,

    There’s also the role of open 24/7 police stations for emergency help, particularly at weekends and during the night. Help may not involve reporting.

    Today that means not only a means of contact with the police, but a publc space that is well illuminated and covered by CCTV. Yes we know “bad things” can happen when those two factors are present, in my opinion it helps to reduce the “bad”.

    A couple of years ago one local police station, which had been 24/7 since opening, lost its custody role and shortly after – for good reason – it was proposed should open only in daylight hours. The intercom did not work, the area was not illuminated and watched by CCTV. The IAG discovered this, not the police!

  3. And meanwhile Back Room Police Services are protected as well so good news all around.We can all sleep safely in our beds knowing that numerous administrators are hard at work Mon – Fri 9-5 (or a bit earlier on Fri,its the weekend after all) ensuring we are all diverse and all crimes are correctly categorised with all unnecessary forms complete (or bounced if not). Incredible –wait for my book hopefully out soon–Disenchanted D.C.

  4. Pingback: The Shrinking Police Service Is a Bit Closer To...

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