BELPER’S police enquiry office is set to close.
Derbyshire police have announced proposals to change enquiry office services to the public throughout the county. Police say the office is under used, although a date for when it will shut has not yet been fixed.
It comes after reductions in police budgets announced in October, 2010, which left the force was left with a budget deficit of £13 million by the end of 2012/13 and a predicted total of £24 million by 2014/15.
The Moving Forward Programme was implemented in 2009 to look at ways to work more effectively and deliver the necessary savings, said a police spokeswoman.
As part of this a review of the enquiry office service was started in May, 2010, to assess how effective the front counter service was and whether they provided value for money.
Currently there are 25 enquiry offices across Derbyshire. Following the review it is proposed re-model the service, which will see nine enquiry offices at sites that are “under-used” closed and opening hours will be altered at others.
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.
“Our Contact Management department is now the first point of contact for the vast majority of people who access our services via phone.
“It offers scheduled appointments for people to speak to a police officer at a time and location to suit them.
“A vast array of other inquiries such as those around firearms certificates for example, can be dealt with by dialling 101 and there is more information and guidance on the force website and on websites like Ask the Police.
“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.”
The proposed change would result in savings of nearly half a million pounds year on year.
The changes will take place between February and June. The first office to close will be Heanor on Saturday, February 4, followed by New Mills on Friday, February 24.
Dates have not yet been set for the closure of offices at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Dronfield, Killamarsh, Shirebrook, Staveley, Alfreton and Belper
Services located at section stations at Cotton Lane, Pear Tree, Swadlincote, Matlock, Glossop, Clay Cross, Ripley, Ilkeston and Long Eaton will open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Bolsover will operate the same service as well as Saturdays 9am to 12:30pm to mirror the local council front counter it shares offices with.
Chesterfield and Derby divisional headquarters in Beetwell Street and St Mary’s Wharf will open 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm Saturdays and 10am to 8pm Sundays.
Buxton would open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Saturdays and 10am to 2pm Sundays.
Ashbourne will open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and Bakewell 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
The Derby city centre office would open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.