It has been revealed that 10 police stations in Lancashire, including Clitheroe, are in line to lose their counter staff by next January. The removal of counter staff essentially means affected police stations will not have their doors open for general public enquiries.
Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has called on residents to contact the Chief Constable of Lancashire Police, Steve Finnigan, to force a reversal of the plans. Speaking from Westminster, Mr Evans said: “It’s a disgrace. Rural areas are being punished and thousands of residents will have no one-stop-shop in our largest town. I advise all residents to write to Steve Finnigan at Hutton Police Station to protest the cuts”.
Mr Evans has already tabled a Parliamentary question to Home Secretary Amber Rudd on the issue, questioning what assessment the department has made of the effect of reducing the number of counter staff at rural police stations.
Evaluating the consequences of losses to counter staff, Mr Evans continued: “it is absolutely imperative that the public have an open point of contact with the police and I fear this move may cost more than it saves, leading to increasing numbers of 999 calls which could have been resolved by counter staff.”
Despite the levels of crime in the Ribble Valley constituency remaining relatively low, Mr Evans shared his fears for the closure of police stations: “it will take the presence of police from our very centre – which will greatly weaken the relationship between the police and citizens.”
On a further point about the value for money of his constituency’s residents, he stated: “Many taxpayers from the Ribble Valley, who contribute a considerable amount of tax, will question why those who are paying the most are receiving the least. It is a total disgrace.”
Nigel Evans has vowed to continue fighting against the changes, along with other North West MP’s.
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