THE FRONT desk at Rubery Police Station will be closed from Monday (September 1).
The village’s councillor Peter McDonald has hit out at West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commission Bill Longmoore for ‘losing his marbles in a fantasy world’ after, he claims, residents were told 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.
To accommodate the new changes the town’s Safer Neighbourhood Team will be increasing its visibility and accessibility by offering support, reassurance and advice through more patrols and monthly drop-in surgeries and meetings – residents will be consulted as when is best to hold these.
Those wanting to make an appointment with members of staff and police officers will be able to do so 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 McDonald said: “How can we take the PCC seriously and have any confidence in him when he says we should Tweet the police not report to the police station.
“In one breath he states he has to find £30million savings.
“In the real world the police stopped using surgeries a number of years ago.
“The police at the moment are even trying their best to get rid of PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meetings and spend less time discussing issues with the public and they very rarely attend.
“We should all be concerned we have a person in charge of the police who believes that Twitter is the new police station.”
Bill Longmore said evidence showed people had stopped visiting police stations and it was not cost effective to employ someone full-time just to receive a few calls a day.
“I recognise police accessibility is very important to our communities,” he added.
“There are numerous ways of contacting the police to report crime, disorder, or any other issues requiring police intervention.
“Contrary to what Coun McDonald is saying, there is no move to end PACT meetings and in the Bromsgrove area some of the PACT groups are very strong.
“My deputy Barrie Sheldon recently attended a PACT meeting at Wythall and was very impressed by the community turn-out and interest in local policing issues.
“Further to this, a new community engagement strategy has been introduced which has strengthened contact with people and communities and this has resulted in some very positive feedback from people about local policing.
“I welcome Coun McDonald to get in contact with my office so we can discuss his concerns.”