Saturday, 25 May 2019

Police station access threat

THE public information desk at Henley police station is set to be scrapped to save money.

THE public information desk at Henley police station is set to be scrapped to save money.

Thames Valley Police says it is looking at ways to make ?efficiencies? and is carrying out a review of front counters at all its stations.

One of the options is to close the desk at the Greys Road station from March, which would save about £21,000.

Staff are currently being consulted on the likely impact of the move and it is believed that one job would be affected. An announcement will be made on December 21.

Police said fewer people now used the public desk service and other methods of communication were more popular.

But Henley Mayor Lorraine Hillier said she wanted to see the desk service retained as it was a ?comfort? to people knowing that someone was available to speak to in person.

?The public desk is an extremely valuable resource,? she said. ?I know there is a telephone outside but that is not quite the same as speaking to someone face-to-face. It needs to be open on a daily basis.

?Also, if you find someone has lost something in town you can hand it in there. I have often gone in and reported something.?

Since 2010, Thames Valley Police has made £71million in savings and the force plans to cut its budget by almost £13million next year and by another £33million during the two years after that.

Deputy Chief Constable John Campbell said that in times of austerity the force was ?continually looking at ways to transform how we deliver our services in order to be as effective and efficient as possible while maximising every opportunity to prevent crime, protect the public and bring offenders to justice?.

He continued: ?The way people interact with the police is changing. We have found that more people are engaging with us on the phone, online or through our social media channels rather than visiting their local police station. Earlier this year we undertook a review of the varying services provided at front counters, the public usage and the associated costs. Analysis of demand has shown us that fewer people are visiting our front counters, especially overnight, therefore we are revising this provision.

?We are proposing to reduce the number of front counters available to the public across the force, with all front counters now offering the same service.

In order to minimise the impact in the main the public will be within 10 miles of a front counter.

?It is also proposed that the counters will operate two sets of opening hours according to local need.

?I wish to reassure the public that we remain committed to keeping our communities safe and providing the public with an emergency service they look to in their hour of need.?

Henley police station moved from Market Place to Noble House in Greys Road in December 2003. The old station is now the Station House pub, owned by Brakspear.

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