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Following on from this week’s announcement that Force Control Room operations are to be centralised in York, North Yorkshire Police can now reveal a further key element of its business change programme to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
A major review of all front counter services at police stations and local police offices has been undertaken to analyse public usage and – if required – how the service can be adapted where current arrangements and resources do not match demand.
In York, Scarborough and Pickering, for example, the front counter services and opening times were found to be fit for purpose so no changes will be made.
At Knaresborough, the analysis showed that the current arrangements were not quite meeting the demand, so the availability of the front counter is due to be extended in June.
This considered approach is consistent with North Yorkshire Police’s Estates Transformation Programme which has seen the development of nine new local police stations/offices during the past two years to meet demand and increase police access and engagement opportunities in local communities.
The latest example of this is the opening of the new Whitby Harbour Local Police Office on Tuesday 12 April, which brings a policing focal point at the very heart of the town.
Again, using the detailed analysis from the review to effectively meet a lower level of demand while obtaining value for money, the opening hours of front counter services will be adjusted accordingly at the following locations:
- Catterick Garrison
- Whitby (the main police station on Spring Hill)
The new opening times of the front counter services will be confirmed in June. This will not affect the availability of local police officers. Appointments can be arranged at the police stations outside of the front counter opening hours.
At only two locations, Settle and Ingleton, it has been decided to cease front counter services due to a lack of use by the community in favour of alternative access arrangements which will be outlined in full prior to the changes in June.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “North Yorkshire Police has developed a range of access opportunities over the past 24 months for the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York.
“As part of the Estates Transformation Programme, we have established nine Local Police Stations/Offices working with partners. These facilities have complemented the larger station locations across the county and the City of York to continuously improve and ensure we have the right assets in the right place at the right time.
“This underpins the current service standards that North Yorkshire Police continues to maintain in relation to public access, including call handling times, response times and keeping the public informed about the progress of incidents.
“Nevertheless, North Yorkshire Police has had to consider a range of efficiency measures in response to the significant budget deficit which all public sector organisations are facing in the coming years.
“Our review of front counter services showed that some of the resources committed to running these facilities were not providing value for money in their current form.
“In this economic climate when we have to prioritise resources according to demand, we simply can not afford to be operating front counters where hardly any members of the public made use of them or during the quieter periods of the day.
“Where changes are introduced to front counters, alternative access arrangements will be put in place including holding more local surgeries and using the mobile police offices. Appointment systems will also be devised to ensure people can arrange face-to-face meetings with their Safer Neighbourhood Team officers.
“It is also important for residents to remember that North Yorkshire Police can be contacted at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year through the Force Control Room. If somebody needs police assistance, be it an emergency or otherwise, we are always on hand to help.
“Residents can be assured that North Yorkshire Police’s commitment to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour remains as strong as ever, and we recognise that the right level of front counter services across North Yorkshire and the City of York is an important part to supporting this objective.”