Station cuts are cost-driven admits Inspector

A REVIEW of front desk opening times at police stations across Devon and Cornwall is still in the early stages, Inspector Antonia Weeks has told Honiton Town Council.

Although changes could make face-to-face contact with police more accessible, including a mobile service, reductions are being driven by the force’s need to cut spending.

Councillors are concerned the front desk at Honiton Police Station could see its opening times significantly reduced, to as little as 25 hours a week.

Inspector Weeks said opening times could be changed to suit public demand, meaning the service is available evenings and Saturday mornings.

“The review will be formalised in September, before being taken any further,” she told the council’s June meeting.

Inspector Weeks was invited to attend the meeting after the council realised it had not been consulted about the review.

She admitted there is “very little slack in the system” and that vacancies for civillian clerks in the force are currently not being filled for financial reasons. While police officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Inspector Weeks said it was not possible to have the front desk open all hours, too.

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Councillor Peter Halse expressed concern about any changes and said: “It is the people you are serving, not the chief constable or the secretary of state.”

Deputy mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock said: “I have got concerns.

“This is a key interface you have got with the public and it needs to be given the highest priority.”