Police station enquiry offices close across Cambridgeshire in bid to plug budget gaps
Changes to the way the public can contact Cambridgeshire Police come into force next week following swingeing job cuts and changes to the county's neighbourhood policing.
From Tuesday(May 4) people will be able to make appointments for surgeries and make more use of online services in the light of the cuts announced last October by Chief Constable Nick Dean in a bid to plug budget gaps.
The surgeries will be available for people seeking non-crime advice or to report crime, at different locations each week, or alternatively people can report crime and intelligence online, through the force’s webchat service, or by calling 101.
The new system also means‘walk in’ services at most of the force's enquiry offices, including March and Wisbech, will no longer be available,but they will be available at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge and Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough, where they will remain open from 8am – 8pm every day.
Appointments at other stations can be made through the force’s webchat service or by calling 101.
Closure of nine enquiry offices together with the halving of the number of PCSOs from 80 to 40 and the removal of the community safety role proposed together with other changes announced in the autumn is set to save the force around £1.7million this financial year.
While the enquiry desks are closed the police stations themselves remain open. The closures meant a reduction in enquiry officers from 17 to 11.
Mr Dean said: “In line with the neighbourhood policing changes that were announced at the end of last year, we are having to streamline our services.
“It is with regret that we can’t keep our walk-in services at more of our enquiry offices but unfortunately with the financial constraints that I outlined last year it isn’t possible.
“I’m encouraging the public to consider using our online services to report crimes or intelligence as these are handled the same way as any other report. In instances where you want to speak with someone, our web chat operators and 101 call takers are on hand 24/7 to provide guidance and answer any questions.
“I appreciate there may be some people who don’t have access to online services and for those people I would encourage them to phone 101, which can still be done using the yellow phones outside of each station. We remain committed to providing quality policing in our neighbourhoods, even if financial challenges change how we operate.”
Limited lost property services remain in place at Parkside and Thorpe Wood for things that are easily identifiable, for example bank cards, personal documentation and driving licences.