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Force and PCC welcome counter service feedback

Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner have welcomed the public response to the Force’s review of counter service provision – today deciding to undertake further public consultation early next year.

Throughout October and November, the Force and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner urged members of the public to share their views on proposed changes to counter service provision across Dorset.

The proposals, which would save the Force in the region of £500,000, arose in the face of ongoing cuts to the police budget and the need for Dorset Police to identify savings, while continuing to put the public first.

A review of station desk enquiry offices identified that they were an under-utilised resource and potential changes include the withdrawal of some station desk offices and reduced opening times at other locations.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “When the Force and I launched the consultation process in early October, I said that it was important to me that we listen to all of our communities about the proposals. This is why I’ve been meeting with residents, partner agencies and other key stakeholders to make sure that as many views as possible are captured.

“As a result of this consultation process, a number of alternative suggestions have been proposed and I’m keen that more detailed proposals are shared with the public and explored further. That, for me, is what consultation is all about.

“For that reason, the Force will once again launch a public consultation process in the early part of 2014 in the hope that members of the public will share their views on the options available and help us to make some very difficult decisions.”

Senior officers, including the Chief Constable and PCC, approved a recommendation that [two/three] specific proposals should be the subject of further stakeholder engagement and public consultation at the Force Executive Board, held at Dorset Police headquarters today, Monday 16 December 2013.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “As anticipated, the consultation process has highlighted that any changes to local policing will generate considerable discussion, as well as a range of alternative suggestions for how we can deliver services.

“Many of the suggestions that the Force has received involve working in partnership with other agencies to deliver joint counter service provision in the future. There have also been concerns about losing counter service provision in North Dorset.

“I can confirm that counter service provision will remain in Bournemouth, Weymouth and North Dorset. We are also developing opportunities to share services with partner agencies and these ideas are being explored in more detail. The Force will provide specific proposals for consultation in the coming weeks.

“We have also found that there remains some confusion about the difference between the potential closure of station desks and the closure of police stations. I would like to stress that a change to counter service provision in a town does not equate to the closure of the town’s police station. The Force continues to ensure that there is a policing footprint in every town in Dorset.”

Issued: 16 December 2013