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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Cut in Ulverston police station opening hours ‘is prelude’ to station axe

A REDUCTION in opening hours of the police station front counter in Ulverston is the “prelude” to it being shut, a councillor fears.

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REDUCED OPENING HOURS Ulverston police station

Yesterday Cumbria police announced reductions to the opening hours of front counters in stations across the county from May 1.

Under the changes, the front counter at Ulverston police station will only be open for four hours, six days a week.

The changes will mean that Barrow police station’s front counter is open from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday, rather than until midnight as it was previously. On Sundays it will be open from 10am until 8pm.

The front counters in Ulverston and Windermere will only be open from 9am until 1pm between Monday and Saturday and closed on a Sunday. At present they open 8.30am to 5pm six days a week.

Ulverston town councillor Norman Bishop-Rowe said he feared the cuts were just the beginning.

He said: “It is the prelude to them shutting it. It is something I have raised concerns over before.”

With a new police station due to be built in Barrow, Cllr Bishop-Rowe fears Ulverston may lose its police station entirely in the next few years.

He added: “The police have got to save money but what are people going to do if they have to produce documents? It does concern me.”

Government cuts to the policing budget mean that Cumbria Constabulary has to save £20m by 2015/16. Temporary deputy chief constable Michelle Skeer said the changes to the front counter service would save £190,000 a year.

A public questionnaire sent out as part of a consultation on the changes revealed 60 per cent of people had not visited a police station in the last year, 17.5 per cent had visited once and only 14.1 per cent had visited two or three times.

DCC Skeer said: “The development of technology has reduced the need for the public to use police front counters. There are far fewer occasions where people are required by law to attend police stations, such as to present their vehicle documents for example.

“We have examined footfall data and will ensure that the key stations are open during more convenient times so that front counter services are available when people need them most.”

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