A consultation process launched to give Lancashire public a say on the future of police premises across the county is drawing to a close.
Around 1,000 residents completed surveys during the 12-week consultation period which will conclude on Friday 23rd September. Hundreds more made contact with us via meetings, e-mail and petitions.
Those views on the closure of selected front counters and in some cases, police stations, will now be considered at length and a final decision made in November.
The Constabulary has to find around £42 million of savings by 2014/15. Through its change programme, it has already identified where the majority of this money will come from including reductions of hundreds of officers and staff.
“Every single aspect of our business is being reviewed in order to find the necessary savings and that includes the properties we use and the services we provide at front counters in police stations," notes Chief Superintendent Tim Jacques. "We recognise that any closures will cause concern which is why we were extremely keen to consult with the public before we made any final decisions.
“We were very pleased with the response. Thousands of people either completed surveys, wrote in to us or came along to public meetings and I would like to thank everybody who took the opportunity to express their views.
“These will now be collated, considered and a final decision will be made in November, which we will share as soon as we can.”
He added: “There will have to be some very difficult decisions made and unfortunately some cuts are inevitable given the amount of money we need to save. However, it is our firm intention to make sure that we strike the right balance between finding these savings and limiting the impact on the public.”
Proposals to change the services offered at some police station front counters were put forward in July following a review of services provided to the public, including opening hours and working practices across the force.
The review found that 81 per cent of the total footfall of visitors across the county is catered for by just 17 of the front counters. The remaining 21 are dealing with only 19 per cent of the overall footfall and were therefore recommended for closure.