Fears ‘salami slicing of services’ will lead to station closure
10:40am Saturday 30th June 2012 in Milford Haven
THE proposed closure of “front counter” provisions at Milford Haven police station may lead to a “salami slicing of services”, county councillors have warned.
In May, Dyfed-Powys police announced the start of a 90-day internal consultation into proposals to remove its public enquiry provision at seven of its stations, including Milford Haven, Tenby and Fishguard.
The proposed closure is part of a wider cost reduction programme, aimed to save £13.1million by 2016.
Deputy chief constable Nick Ingram said the force’s contact management review found “clear evidence” that footfall in some locations failed to justify the need for full-time desk staff, who were mainly civilian volunteers.
He said that a survey, carried out in October three years ago, showed that fewer than two people per hour visited any of the seven police stations.
He told an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday that police stations will remain open, and people will have access to a button on the outside, putting them in direct contact with the control room.
But Cllr Jonathan Nutting said this was reminiscent of “talking to a McDonald’s drive-through”.
Cllr Viv Stoddart said that if someone fails to answer a knock on the police station door, they would give the impression of barricading themselves against the “pesky public”.
She said: “Despite assurances from the council and Mr Ingram, I think that this salami slicing of services will lead to the closure of Milford Haven police station.”
Cllr Rhys Sinnett added that he found the council’s approach to this issue severely differed to its position 18 months ago, when proposals for the closure of the Milford Haven coastguard station hit the spotlight.
Mr Sinnett called for a proper public consultation, where people can not only question, but also call in any decisions that have an effect on the public at large.
Cllr Mike Evans said the council should “oppose these closures and call upon the chief constable to reverse these cuts.
“We’re here with public confidence that was granted to us less than two months ago. If you support the closures, that does not give messages of public confidence.”
A majority of 27 councillors voted in support of Cllr Jamie Adams’ amended motion that the council expresses its concern to the chief constable about the effect of these closures, and looks into providing similar facilities through council/police partnerships.
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