Police to close 13 out of 19 enquiry points

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PLANS to reduce the number of police station front desks open to members of the public in South Yorkshire could see 13 out of 19 close.

The Star revealed last month bosses were considering closing some enquiry desks but now plans due to be submitted to the Police Authority reveal only six might be left open.

Sheffield city centre’s police station and police HQ at Snig Hill as well as stations at Moss Way and Ecclesfield would all stay open.

The main stations in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster would also be open for people to call into unannounced.

Under new proposals, the public would have to make an appointment to speak to a police officer to avoid staff having to be employed to run front desks at quiet stations which are rarely visited.

Bosses stress there are no plans to close police stations.

Closure of enquiry desks is among cost-cutting schemes by South Yorkshire Police after the Government cut their budget by £43 million over the next four years.

Chief Constable Med Hughes said: “Our research has shown that most of the current enquiry desks receive very few visitors and indeed, one desk received only one enquiry in a week.

“The proposals, if implemented, would save the force around half a million pounds each year, which would fund about 10 full-time police constables on patrol.

“Whilst this work has been stimulated by the need to make savings in our budgets, it cannot be a good use of taxpayers’ money to keep facilities open which are not used by the public.

“South Yorkshire Police will always respond to calls for assistance from the public. If they need to speak to officers face-to-face, people can make appointments.”

Mr Hughes said the public often contacted the force by phone and email and it was ‘inappropriate to continue staffing desks that have little public attendance’.