Police station opening hours face cuts across East Riding
POLICE are planning to cut opening hours at stations across the East Riding to save money.
Stations in Cottingham, Pocklington, Hornsea, Driffield, Withernsea and Hedon could all have their opening hours slashed.
The proposals have been drawn up after a review of public contact points, including front counters at police stations, and could save up to £150,000.
Humberside Police assistant chief officer Phil Goatley said the force has to make difficult decisions as it battles to meet budget cuts of £30 million.
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He said: "We well understand that some service areas such as the provision of contact points for the public are more sensitive than others.
"In looking at our services and functions across the board, there has not been a single focus on simply cutting costs and saving money.
"We are taking a measured and proportionate approach to the changes we need to make, which, in some areas, can achieve an improvement in services while reducing costs.
"Specifically on opening hours, the review includes proposals to change these in some cases strictly in line with the measured demand for service.
"For some stations, particularly those in rural areas without custody facilities, there are proposals for reductions in the total number of hours for which front counters would be staffed."
The plans have yet to be considered by Chief Constable Tim Hollis.
A recent "mystery shopper" exercise by Humberside Police Authority found the counters at several East Riding police stations were not open when the force website had stated they would be.
Mr Hollis told a meeting of the authority: "It is a very sensitive issue for us and we have looked at it a lot. In some cases, having a person sitting there all the time is not cost-effective."
Mr Goatley said there are no plans to reduce the opening hours at any of the main police stations and no counters will be closed.
He said: "The review presents a range of proposals which have yet to be considered by the chief constable.
"These are centred on improving the provision of services including working on joint provision of public contact points more effectively with partners, better arrangements for visitors to our custody facilities, smarter use of pre-arranged appointments and better planning in our policing divisions to ensure that contact points are open whenever and wherever we advertise that they are.
"This review is also linked to work under way to enhance the force's interaction with the public through the rapidly growing phenomenon of social media."
A statement from Humberside Police said there had been speculation Beverley and Driffield police stations were being "targeted for closure".
A spokesman for the force said: "This is unequivocally not the case, nor have there ever been plans to leave either of these communities without their own local police station."