Threat to police station opening hours

OPENING hours at police stations across the Axe Valley could be cut drastically following a force review to save money.

OPENING hours at police stations across the Axe Valley could be cut drastically following a force review to save money.

Seaton police station hours could be chopped from 30 to 10 hours a week, Sergeant Richard Stonecliffe revealed.

He made the announcement during the town council's annual meeting on Monday, May 10.

He told the Midweek Herald: "The force is trying to identify peak levels of people visiting its enquiry offices around Devon and Cornwall in order to maximise efficiency from our resources.

"We need to make sure we have got the right people in the right places at the right time.

"We are consulting with key members or our community to discuss proposals for future opening hours."

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He said there was no indication of job losses at this time.

Peter Burrows, town and East Devon District Councillor, told the Herald: "I think people will be very unhappy when they find out they want to open even less hours than they do now.

"It's the first port of call for residents when they have a problem. Without it, people may feel they have less of a voice in the town."

Axminster police confirmed there was an ongoing review of station hours but, at this time, no decision had been made.

Superintendent Peter Strawbridge said the force was reviewing when and where people have face-to-face contact with police.

He said: "We need to be sure that, overall, we are giving local people best value for money - 'working clever' to meet people's needs as conveniently for them as we can in how we provide our front counter and other contact site services.

"A mainly weekday, office hours service, may not be best for many peoples' needs and we have found there are now times when very few customers come to some of our enquiry counters over many hours."

He said they would aim to introduce any updating of services arising from the review by the end of 2010.

? Residents concerned about the proposals can contact Sgt Stonecliffe on 08452 777 444, or visit the station.

? What do you think? Tell your Midweek Herald by writing to the address on page 2 or email

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