Police counters set to be closed

St Annes Police Station
St Annes Police Station

Four police station front counters across the Fylde coast are to close next year as part of Lancashire Constabulary’s budget cuts.

The facilities – at Bispham, Poulton, Kirkham and St Annes – are among 10 set to close across the county.

Police say the front counters were chosen carefully and are Lancashire’s most under-used.

The move follows a review carried out by the Constabulary and Police & Crime Commissioner which showed that as few as three people a day were visiting some of the counters, with people preferring to report incidents over the phone or online.

Police insist the closures will not affect the way areas are policed but, along with reduced opening hours at remaining front counters, the move will deliver over £1m in annual savings of the £19.8m police in the county need to find by 2020 as part of Government cuts.

However, the news has been met with dismay in the areas affected by the closures.

Councillor Liz Oades, who represents Kirkham at county, borough and town council levels, said: “This is extremely disappointing news but it was really a fait accomplis, despite the consultations.

“The reasons given were also erroneous – they looked at one day in Kirkham in November and said just three people used it, but it is not being staffed all the time and people often go and there is no one there.

“It is yet another service being lost – our community police is disappearing and this is just another nail in the coffin.”

The changes are based on a detailed business case which looked at front counter usage across Lancashire throughout the year.

The proposals were then subject to public consultation by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, which saw 91 responses.

Mr Grunshaw said: “The proposals in the consultation were based not just on reducing costs but also recognising that the public are choosing to engage with the police in different ways.

“I want to reiterate that this decision will not change the way areas are policed in any way.”

Chief Superintendent Pete Lawson, head of contact and response, said: “The decision to these counters has not been taken lightly. It follows a very thorough review and a period of staff and public consultation.”