Dereham police station hours cut
Dereham police station's opening hours are set to be cut as part of countywide plans to slash the hours that stations are open to the public.Wide-scale cuts will see every police station in Norfolk closed to the public at evenings and many at weekends, although the precise details are yet to be formally agreed.
Dereham police station's opening hours are set to be cut as part of countywide plans to slash the hours that stations are open to the public.
Wide-scale cuts will see every police station in Norfolk closed to the public at evenings and many at weekends, although the precise details are yet to be formally agreed.
A review of front-desk opening times, which will be presented to staff this week, will see all of the county's 35 stations - including those at Dereham, Fakenham and Wells - close at 7pm at the latest. From October some smaller stations will be closed for three days a week while night-time operations at larger stations are to be slashed.
Bosses said the move, resulting in eight civilian redundancies, will save money which can be diverted into frontline policing at a time when there is increasing pressure on public spending. This follows analysis which found people rarely visit stations in the evening and preferred to use the telephone.
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However, representatives of the rank and file are opposed to anything which will deter the public from contacting police and fear the decision could send out a negative message.
Norfolk Police Federation chairman Malcolm Sneesby said: 'It is not so long ago that the larger police stations in Norfolk were open 24-hours. Although you wouldn't get many visitors late at night, the visitors you did get were often those that most needed help.'
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A police spokesman insisted that the force remained a '24-hours a day, seven days a week' business but said closing 'little used' counter facilities was a prudent move. Other measures - such as allowing the public to phone in and make appointments to be visited by officers - would improve communication.
Stations will be equipped with emergency phones to allow visitors to contact officers inside.
Anne Campbell, Norfolk Police's communication and public affairs director, said: 'Norfolk Constabulary is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week business with officers and staff rostered to provide fast response services when needed.
'Where counter facilities are little used, for instance at particular times of the day or on particular days, we are rationalising when they are available to ensure best use of our counter staff.
'This is a sensible way forward when we have limited resources that we must use to best effect.'
Dereham town councillor Robin Goreham said: 'I think it is good that they are going to divert resources into frontline policing because people like to see bobbies on the beat. I hope that they do everything that they can to maintain a presence at Dereham police station for as long as they possibly can each day.
'Another thing that is important is that they educate the public more about the non-emergency number that they can use.'
Currently Dereham police station is open to the public from 8am until 9pm Monday to Saturday, and from 9am until 5pm on Sundays.