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
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.