Opening hours of public enquiry desks at 10 police stations are set to be reduced, with two front counters to close permanently, Northamptonshire Police has announced.
Following a review of the way the force responds to and deals with enquiries from the public, Chief Constable Adrian Lee has announced the public enquiry desks at Brackley and Oundle Police Stations will close from April 1.
In Northampton, the opening hours of the front counter at Weston Favell Police Station will reduce to 9am to 5pm. Previously, the counter was open until 6.30pm.
The enquiry desk in the Guildhall, which moved from Campbell Square Police Station last year, will be open from 9am until 5pm. Campbell Square Police Station previously opened from 8am until 8pm.
Opening hours at Rushden and Towcester Police stations will reduce from five to three halve-days each week.
The public enquiry desk in Kettering will move to Kettering Borough Council’s customer service centre in Bowling Green Road and will be open Monday to Saturday.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said the way people access policing services had “changed” over the past few years with more people phoning police or contacting them online rather than visiting police stations in person.
He said: “As part of the review, we have looked at how often people visit the enquiry desks, the reasons they do so and the times they visit, and this has shown that the use of these facilities at certain times and in some locations is very low.
“We have also spoken to other forces that have recently made changes to their public enquiry desk provision and they too had recorded a marked decrease in the number of people visiting police station front offices.
“As such, to ensure we make the best use of the resources we have available, we will be introducing revised opening hours in all locations from April 1.”
The front counter review is one part of the Force’s ongoing change programme, which is looking at all aspects of the organisation and policing.
Mr Lee added: “We are already trialling different ways of providing a local policing service, including sharing facilities with partners, and this has been working successfully for several months in Northampton, where the police enquiry desk is located at the borough council’s One-Stop-Shop at the Guildhall.
“We’ve had a very positive response from the public and have seen an increase in the number of visitors. The central location, more welcoming environment and convenient access to other important services has no doubt contributed to its success and I am confident the new Kettering office will provide similar benefits for the local community.”
Outside of enquiry desk opening hours, people will still be able to contact police on the non-emergency telephone number 101 or report a non-urgent incident online at www.northants.police.uk, where they can also find a range of advice and information.
New opening hours from 1 April* 2015
Northampton Guildhall – Monday-Saturday, 9am to 5pm
Wellingborough and Corby – Monday-Saturday, 10am to 6pm
Kettering – Monday-Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Daventry – Monday-Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Weston Favell – Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm* (the changes at Weston Favell are effective from January 7th)
Rushden – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 2pm to 6pm
Towcester – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 2pm
Oundle and Brackley – closed. The stations will remain an operational base for local community officers.
All front-counters will close on bank and public holidays.