Police front counters in Oxfordshire set to close
The way people interact with the police is changing and counters in Thame, Cowley, Henley, Didcot, Wantage, Faringdon, Wallingford, Carterton, Woodstock and Chipping Norton are scheduled to close.
The proposed changes will take place on April 1 2016.
Deputy Chief Constable John Campbell said: “The way people interact with the police is changing; the public want to contact us at a time and place that’s convenient to them.
“We have found that more people are engaging with us on the phone, online or through our social media channels rather than visiting their local police station.
“We are proposing to reduce the number of front counters available to the public across the force, with all front counters now offering the same service. In order to minimise the impact in the main the public will be within ten miles of a front counter.
“It is also proposed the counters will operate two sets of opening hours according to local need; a seven days a week provision or weekday provision.
“Staff at our front counters have been notified of our proposed changes and are being consulted with. At this stage no staff have been put at risk.
A total of 86 per cent people told the police force they prefer to contact police on the phone in a non emergency, based on a survey of 9,187 people.
Abingdon, St Aldates in Oxford and Banbury front counters will now be open from 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.
Meanwhile, front counters at Witney and Bicester will be open from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, while Kidlington will be open from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Previously, each front counter would offer a different level of service but these counters will offer all services to the public.
These overall changes are estimated to bring savings of £29 million by 2021 and a combined revenue saving of approximately £1.7 million per year.
Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “With a smaller budget and an ever increased demand on policing, it is vital that we look at ways we can improve the way we operate.
“We don’t want to see our buildings sitting empty, unused and costing money when the funding that’s saved can go into other areas where it is needed such as new technology, protecting vulnerable people, child abuse and domestic abuse.
“A review of our estate and the reinvestment of savings from the closing of assets that are underutilised will support the delivery of a more efficient and effective service to communities across the Thames Valley”.
The public will have an opportunity to ask DCC Campbell questions about the changes at a Cover It Live session starting at 7pm on tomorrow (22/12). To join in the discussion visit @thamesvp
The public can still contact the police 24-hours a day by calling 101 in a non-emergency call or 999 in an emergency.
For the deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired you can contact the Force by texting 18000.
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