THE COUNTER service at Bromsgrove police station is to be axed permanently from September 1 despite the service’s new £10.5million base.
From September 1, residents will be asked to use a ‘contact point’ which will connect visitors through to a 24/7 service via an intercom.
The changes come after a review revealed a ‘significant decline’ in people visiting stations across West Mercia, in some cases it could be as little as one person a day.
A police front desk service has never operated from the new £10.5million ‘blue light centre’ while access to the service at the force’s previous base in the Crescent was slashed from 80 hours to 36 hours a week in 2012.
To accommodate the new changes the town’s Safer Neighbourhood Team will be increasing their visibility and accessibility by offering support, reassurance and advice through more patrols and monthly drop-in surgeries and meetings – residents will be consulted as to when best to hold these.
Those wanting to make an appointment with members of staff and police officers will be able to through email, twitter and by calling 101.
For bail signings, examination of driving documents, receipt of found property and foreign nationals registering residents will need to travel to Redditch Police Station.
Coun Rory Shannon, who called for an investigation into the closure of the Bromsgrove front desk in June, said: “I am absolutely disgusted.
“I expect this has been planned for a long time and has just been swept under the carpet with the hopes nobody would complain.
“It’s already affected Bromsgrove, since the station moved, if residents want a face-to-face with an officer they have to ring 999, if it is an emergency, or go to Redditch.
“In no way do I blame the police for this it is purely down to Government cut backs – this is a warning for the rest of the country.”
A West Mercia Police representative said more people were living modern lives and choosing to contact them using the internet, Twitter, Facebook and by calling them – resulting in the force’s decision to modernise its service to meet the needs of the public.
Ch Supt Amanda Blakeman, who led the review, added how the changes would allow them to make the most use of resources they had and provide best value for money to the communities they serve.
She said: “This is an opportunity to deliver a more consistent, professional service which will enable more officers to be deployed where and when they are needed the most in our communities.”
Bill Longmore, West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “The police must be accessible to people.
“Strengthening the local police’s relationships with people is important and I hope these changes will give people a wider opportunity to connect with them should they need to.”
Visit www.westmercia.police.uk for more information.