Devon police station front desks set to close as part of £12m cuts - is yours one of them?

Mid Devon Star: Devon police station front desk set to close as part of £12m cuts - is yours one of them? Devon police station front desk set to close as part of £12m cuts - is yours one of them?

Police station front desks are set to close in Devon, including those in Newton Abbott and Totnes, as the force looks to make £12 million worth of savings over the next four years.

It will leave just ten across Devon and Cornwall counties where members of the public can visit officers as a matter of course.

Stations affected by the proposals include Falmouth, Penzance, Liskeard, Launceston, Bude, Honiton, Tiverton, Exmouth, Newton Abbott, Oakhampton and Totnes.

However Torquay and Plymouth Charles Cross will remain open six days a week.

A public consultation has been launched into the changes, which Devon and Cornwall Police say will make an annual saving of around £760,000.

The force is keen to stress that the stations themselves will remain open for operational duties, with the public still able to make contact via the 101 and 999 telephone numbers, as well as make appointments to see officers either at home or at their nearest station.

The proposal is partly in response to a change in the way people are contact officers, with a huge surge over the last couple of years in people using the website and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to report crimes and ask questions.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton said: “In the current financial climate the force needs to make challenging decisions around how we best use our resources to benefit our communities.

“We are required to make difficult decisions in order to maintain visibility and maintain front line policing whenever possible.

“The force has carried out a review of how the public contact police in Devon and Cornwall and it has shown that the amount of people physically calling at a police station continues to diminish.

“In even our busiest stations this can be as low as five to six people an hour at peak times and for quieter stations can be no personal callers at all for periods of time.”

The proposed changes will see Camborne and Truro police stations open from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, together with Plymouth Crownhill, Barnstaple, Bodmin and St Austell, with summer opening only of the enquiry office at Newquay Police Station.

Only large public enquiry offices at Plymouth Charles Cross, Torquay and Exeter Heavitree Road will remain open for six days a week.

Exact details around opening hours and staffing are still to be confirmed, but the overall number of full-time equivalent public enquiry officer posts will be reduced from 61 to 34 as part of the plan.

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