Police launch public consultation for future of front counter provision across Thames Valley Police area
Thames Valley Police is seeking the public’s views on the future of the force’s front counter provision, including one in nearby Bicester.
A consultation opened this week, yesterday Monday January 4, to allow residents of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire to have a say on the future of front counter services.
TVP is reviewing front counter services as part of a commitment to adapt to the different ways in which people contact the police, to meet the changing needs of the diverse communities they serve and to make necessary savings.
The consultation seeks views on a proposed reduction in the number of front counters from 16 to 11, which would save approximately £1.4m.
Since March 2020, TVP has operated with just five of its 16 front counter sites open. Seven re-opened in October 2020.
Assistant Chief Constable Ben Snuggs said: “The way in which our communities contact and engage with us continually evolves, with this rate of change accelerating significantly during the pandemic.
“As you might expect, we have seen an increase in contact with us by phone and online. Contacting us online is proving a convenient way for people to report non-emergency crimes or incidents, Covid-19 breaches, apply for firearms licensing, tell us about something of concern or to update us on a crime report among many other functions.
“We want to ensure we continue to operate in line with these changing public expectations and do so as well as possible. TVP is committed to providing a high quality service to the public so that when people need us they can contact us swiftly and easily. As this involves people physically coming to police buildings less and less, it is right that we continue to adapt our digital, online and phone response accordingly.
“It is important to emphasise that this proposal does not affect police officer numbers, nor the number of police bases we have, and so the public will not experience any difference in police visibility in our communities.
“We are also offering support to our staff who are affected by this proposal and have kept them up to date with the proposed changes. We are hoping to keep any staff changes to a minimum to reduce the impact on our workforce.”
“It is vitally important we hear your views on this proposal as it will help us make a well informed decision. Please take part and tell us what you think through this consultation.”
Under the plans, the force will retain 11 of its front counters at Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Slough, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Abingdon, Banbury, Newbury, Loddon Valley and Maidenhead. The hours of their opening are also being reviewed to ensure consistency across the force.
Amersham, Bicester, Bracknell, HQ South in Kidlington, and Witney will close if the proposal is approved. TVP has 79 police bases force-wide, which are not affected, nor being consulted upon.
The take the online survey use the following web link: https://wh.snapsurveys.com/SURVEY_PREVIEW.asp?k=160759077770The consultation, which is hosted on the digital platform Snap, and will run until January 31.
Anyone who would prefer a paper copy of the consultation should call 01865 542895 and leave an address for a copy of the consultation to be sent to.