Information about Closures of West Midlands Police Front Desks
Wednesday 19th November 2014
This statement from Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson’s office is intended to give some background on the reasons that explain the decision to close 27 counters over the next 12 months.
The change follows analysis which showed there was little demand from the public for front desks.
The document that shows the findings from an independent evaluation by BMG Research is available to download here.
The review found that the public rarely visit some front counters, with some having as few as one visitor per day. When asked their preferred method of contacting the police, front offices did not fealture in the top three choices − the majority preferred more modern ways of contacting the police.
David Jamieson said: “The force’s 41 front desks reflect an era where if you wanted to cojntact the police you had a choice between a landline or visiting a police station in person. That world has changed, and the police must catch up too.
“Ninety five per cent of people have mobile phones now, and can contact the police from anywhere. Research shows that very few people are visiting front desks and prefer to phone the police or use the internet rather than go to a police station.
“The current service doesn’t meet people’s preferences and is becoming increasingly expensive as fewer and fewer people use it. We need to deploy staff to call centres where possible to free up resources that keep police officers where people want them: on the street, preventing crime and catching criminals.”
Neighbourhood officers and other teams will continue to provide the same level of service and the force plans to introduce a range of new ways of getting in touch − after the public told the researchers they would prefer to use more modern methods to communicate with the police.
Ten front office counters will remain open, nine from 8am to 10pm and one for 24 hours a day.*
The closures will take part in a phased approach over the next 12 months saving £3 million while protecting frontline policing. Full details around the changes can be found on the West Midlands Police website.
Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: “The decision to close front offices has not been taken lightly and followed a year-long review speaking to our communities to gain a detailed understanding of the service we provide and thoroughly analysing footfall.
“The simple fact is front offices are hugely underused and cost the taxpayer millions each year to keep open. Nothing will change to the local delivery of policing – local neighbourhood teams will continue to patrol and be very much a part of their local community.
“Like all other forces, we have to continue to reduce spending and ensure taxpayers’ money is spent on the services which matter to them most. We need to ensure we offer a service that is relevant to people in their daily lives.”
He said every effort would be made to redeploy staff who may be affected by the closures.
A range of methods for contacting the police exist such as calling 101, dedicated email addresses and Twitter/Facebook accounts for neighbourhood teams, community meetings and drop in surgeries.
*Another four front offices staffed by volunteers will remain open as Contact Points offering the community an opportunity to engage locally with neighbourhood officers
Our mailing address is:
West Midlands Office for Policing and Crime
Colmore Circus Queensway
Birmingham, West Midlands B4 6NQ