THE DEVASTATING impact of the police cuts were laid bare today as Essex Police revealed proposals to drastically reduce the opening hours of police stations across Thurrock.
If the proposals are implemented, Corringham Police Station will close to the public altogether; Grays Police Station will shut between midnight and 8am and the front counters at South Ockendon and Tilbury will also be closed between 6pm and 12noon and closed all day Sunday.
In effect, there will be no police station open, to the public in Thurrock, at the key time of Saturday night between midnight and 8am.
A decision will also be made as to whether to sell Corringham police station all together.
The proposed cuts come as Essex Police has to find savings of £41 million by 2014 however these proposals will only save just over £2.5 million and may illustrate that there are further savage cuts to come in the met 36 months.
A spokesperson for Essex Police said:
“Today we have begun the process of consulting with staff through Unison on proposed changes to our police station front counters. The consultation period is expected to conclude towards the end of November 2011.
“In June and July 2011, Essex Police and Essex Police Authority engaged with local people through online and face to face surveys. We asked the public what they considered to be important about the policing service they receive in their area. The results of this survey have helped shape our proposals for the future provision of police station front counter services.
“In the online survey, the majority of respondents, 62.6 percent, stated that they had not visited a police station in the last 12 months. In the face-to-face surveys carried out by our engagement teams in locations such as supermarkets and shopping centres, an even higher proportion of people, 76.2 percent, stated that they had not visited a police station in the last 12 months; when asked how they would report a crime, 94 percent of people said they would want to do this via the telephone.
“In addition, we have monitored attendance by the public at police stations across Essex and it is clear that demand is often very low. In fact, one of our police stations recorded an average of one member of the public visiting every two days.
“In light of this, Essex Police has very carefully considered the best way in which we can provide front counter services to the public at the same time as providing value for money and keeping as many police officers working in neighbourhood policing as possible.
“Under the new Blueprint we are increasing the number of police officers in neighbourhood policing teams by around 12 percent (from 472 to 527), helping to increase our visible policing presence.
“With 94 percent of people in Essex telling us that they would wish to report a crime via the telephone, the force is making it easier for residents to contact us. Essex Police is delighted to be part of the launch of a new national non-emergency number: 101. Anyone in Essex who wishes to contact the force can dial 101 from anywhere in Essex and will be put through to our switchboard. Our previous non-emergency number, 0300 333 4444, can still be used for the next 18 months. Of course, 999 should still be used in an emergency.