BROMSGROVE’s new police station will not have a front counter service due to cost-cutting measures.
Labour councillors Chris Bloore and Rory Shannon have condemned the decision to not have a face-to-face service at the blue light centre near Slideslow Drive.
The police stress the changes, which are part of a review of front counter services across West Mercia, are necessary in order to introduce a more modern and effective way of operating.
Councillor Chris Bloore said: “This is simply appalling news. The fact that local residents cannot go to their own local police station to see an officer face to face is yet another cut to our local policing team.
“I am deeply disappointed that the police commissioner has not listened to the views of local people. Local people want a counter service, they want to be able to see a police officer at a police station.
“We have already lost some officers and now Bromsgrove is getting a downgraded service from a discredited police commissioner.”
A telephone intercom will create a 24/7 contact point for visitors wishing to speak to a police call taker.
Barrie Sheldon, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: “Evidence shows that people have stopped visiting police stations in many areas – it is just not cost effective to employ someone full time just to receive a few callers per day.
“We are currently looking at other options to improve communication and engagement throughout West Mercia, including Bromsgrove, and already have in some areas hubs with councils, police and other organisations that provide a joint public service and access point.
“By doing this we hope to provide a solution suitable for the local community.”
Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: "The police must be accessible to people.
"We are currently exploring opportunities to share resources such as front counters with partners wherever possible.
"Strengthening the local police's relationships with people is important and I hope that these changes will give people a wider opportunity to connect with them should they need to."
Chief Superintendent Amanda Blakeman, who led the review into public contact and front counter provision, said:
“Keeping people safe is the focus of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police and this is an opportunity to deliver a more consistent, professional service, which will enable more officers to be deployed where and when they are needed the most in our communities.
“The strategic alliance between Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police has given us a chance to review all of our processes to ensure we make the best use of resources and provide best value for money to the communities we serve in order to protect people from harm.”
There are a range of ways to contact the police including calling 101 or the Safer Neighbourhood Teams on 115, attending monthly community meetings and drop in surgeries or using the new intercom system.