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Police face ‘stark choice’ over costs

09:33 17 July 2014

Inspector Antonia Weeks

Inspector Antonia Weeks

Archant

Exmouth’s top police officer, Inspector Antonia Weeks, says that there are no plans to ‘outsource’ the force’s enquiry desk to The Strand.

Last week town councillors suggested that the police enquiry desk at the North Street station could relocate to a shop unit in the town centre – or even the Tourist Information Service, writes David Beasley.

It follows force-wide plans to close enquiry offices to save cash.

In Exmouth alone this could save £800,000 a year, and a final decision on the proposed closure is expected within weeks.

Councillors made their suggestion after seeing police information in the centre of Dawlish.

But Inspector Weeks said that the issue was not about not having the premises, it was about saving money through cutting staff costs – and a town centre police office would still need somebody to man it.

She said that there was ‘no question’ of closing the police station, and that the police would continue to operate a ‘24/7’ service in the town.

Insp Weeks added: “The force has to find something like £14million of savings.

“It’s a stark choice – maintaining front-line operational policing or the counter service. It is a force-wide decision, and not specific to Exmouth, and my priority has to be front-line policing.”

Insp Weeks said the Dawlish information office was there because the town didn’t have a police station where officers could be based.

And because of the way the building was set up, members of the public could knock on the door and speak to an officer.

She added: “We are not closing the police station and we are not looking to outsource the police front desk service.

“There are no plans to replicate a front court service in another facility or in alternative premises in the town.

“Some of the services, which in the past were offered by the counter service, including drivers presenting their driving documents, we are looking at delivering the service in a different way.”

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