Exmouth police enquiry desk saved from the axe

EXMOUTH police’s enquiry desk has been saved from the axe – despite more than 30 stations across the force closing their doors to the public in a bid to save money.

The announcement makes it one of 23 to be saved following a major review.

Paul Netherton, assistant chief constable at Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Over the last 30 years we have seen a significant reduction in the number of people visiting a station enquiry office.

“As a result this fall in demand and the introduction of new and improved ways of accessing our services, we have carried out a review of our enquiry offices.

“Up until now, this area of our business has not been reviewed and has not changed in line with the lifestyles of our local communities.”

Mr Netherton said taking into account recent budgetary reduction requirements, the force took the decision, supported by the police authority, to close a number of enquiry offices where demand was at its lowest.

“This review has not been about closing stations,” he added.

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“It is about reviewing, and where possible, meeting the needs of our diverse communities.

“It’s extremely rare for an emergency incident to be reported via a police station; any individual outside a station in an emergency situation will be dealt with immediately.”

Mr Netherton said the public would always have access to its wall phones available at all police stations.

He continued: “Members of the public wanting to speak with an officer face to face can always make an appointment at a time that suits them.”

Mike Bull, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, said the modernisation would save the force approximately �5.4 million over four years.

Mr Bull believed the changes would ensure front line services were resourced sufficiently ‘during one of the most challenging financial climates ever faced by police forces.’

“It is clear from the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review that there will be many tough decisions to make, however, these savings need to be found in areas that does not impact on our ability to respond to 999 incidents.”