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Force and PCC reviewing counter service provision

Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner are continuing to review counter service provision across the Force area – with members of the public being urged to share their views.

In the face of ongoing cuts to the police budget, Dorset Police has been examining all areas of the Force to identify and deliver the savings required, while continuing to put the public first. As part of this process, the Force has been reviewing counter service provision in all areas of the county.

The review has identified that station desk enquiry offices are an under-utilised resource. Various enquiry offices in Dorset receive just a few visits per day and surveys show that the majority of Dorset’s residents prefer to make contact with Dorset Police via telephone or the Force website.

Changes to the service have been proposed, which include the withdrawal of some station desk offices and reduced opening times at other locations. These proposed changes could save the Force in the region of £500,000.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “We are acutely aware that any changes to local policing, particularly those affecting station enquiry offices, are likely to generate considerable discussion. It is for this reason that Dorset Police will be in communication with key stakeholders over the coming weeks.

“I hope that this engagement will help to inform all of our communities of the rationale for change and also help to identify gaps in provision and how we can fill them.

“I would like to reassure members of the public that no final decisions have been made regarding station desk office provision in Dorset. However, we have to meet a very challenging budgetary situation and we are committed to providing the best possible service while reflecting true demand and value for money.

“I would also like to stress that the potential closure of station desks does not mean the closure of the police stations themselves. The Force continues to ensure that there is a policing footprint in every town in Dorset.”

Members of the public wishing to provide feedback are encouraged to email consultation@dorset.pnn.police.uk.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Dorset Police is the fourth lowest spending Force in England and Wales and there is no doubt that difficult choices need to be made. However, I am committed to ensuring that the Force makes the best use of reducing resources to deliver a service that reflects the needs of our communities.

“It is for this reason that the Chief and I recently agreed to make improvements to the 101 non-emergency service. This work has already led to improvements and, given that over three-quarters of the public prefer to contact Dorset Police by telephone, we will not be complacent.

“I am also working with the Force to introduce a Victims’ Bureau, which enables Dorset Police to support victims of crime and ASB during their journey through the criminal justice system.

“Of course, it’s important to me that we listen to all our communities as part of the engagement process and I’d urge anyone with suggestions or concerns to provide feedback. There are many ways to do this, including at the various public engagement forums that I hold across the county.”

Issued: 7 October 2013