A PLAN to shut Belper police office has been slammed by the leader of the town council.
Derbyshire police has said the enquiry office on Field Lane is among nine that will close before the end of June as the force finds ways to trim costs.
It follows a review of the 25 enquiry offices across the county, which started in May, 2010.
Cllr John Nelson said he understood why the police had made the decision because savings needed to be made, but added: “I am very disappointed because we were told two or three years ago that the office would not be closed.”
A date has not yet been set for the closure of the Belper office.
Assistant chief constable Dee Collins said: “We examined every single one of our enquiry offices and looked in detail at the services they provided and the number of visitors they received.
“It was clear that there was spare capacity across all sites and many of the smaller offices received a limited number of weekly visitors.
“The way we deliver services to the public has moved on greatly in the last few years and many of the things that enquiry offices used to be the first port of call for are being delivered elsewhere.
“Following a review of all the enquiry offices it was very clear that many sites were simply not viable to be kept open, both from an efficiency point of view and a financial one.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and I realise it is not going to be popular in some quarters but the fact of the matter is we have to make savings and deliver services that provide value for money.
“It was a difficult choice but we had to weigh up carefully between retaining buildings or retaining officers.”
Andrea Fox, who is manager of the Drop Inn youth centre in Belper, said it was terrible and a real shame for the town. She added: “This means there will be no centre where people in the town can go to report incidents of crime or just get advice.”
The other eight offices that will be closed are in Heanor, Alfreton, New Mills, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Dronfield, Killamarsh, Shirebrook and Staveley.
The move is set to save the force nearly £500,000 year on year, said police.