Seven West Yorkshire police stations shut their public help desks

Public help desks are closing at seven police stations around West Yorkshire after senior officers said they would save money by shutting the poorly-used facilities.

West Yorkshire Police says its stations at Weetwood, Killingbeck, Morley, Lawcroft House in Bradford, Eccleshill, Shipley and Ilkley will no longer have the help desks, which are often used as the first point of contact for the public.
And after a review of how often the services are used, the opening hours at many other stations around the county are being reduced from today.
The force, whose Chief Constable said this summer that her officers were exhausted as they worked long hours to make up for cuts to their workforce, says the money saved will be ploughed back into front line services.
It said that a public survey carried out recently showed that an "overwhelming majority" of the public now contact the police by phone, at local meetings, online and through social media, whilst the numbers attending police stations "have fallen considerably over recent years".
The poll showed that 91 per cent of respondents had not used a public Help Desk in the last 12 months, with 61 per cent having never used one at all.
Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said: “It’s well known that the force’s budget must still be significantly reduced over the next four years and it is crucial that we continue to consider how best to use our resources to keep people safe and feeling safe.
“The survey and our own analysis highlights that in many of our current police stations, only a few people use public Help Desks each day and a significant number of them are attending pre-arranged appointments with officers. The vast majority of people are actually contacting us through other means.
“It is clearly not efficient to have public Help Desks open when they are not being used.
“We are still committed to providing a service that is visible and accessible through frontline officers and PCSOs and that meets the needs of our communities.
“The changes will have no impact on front line operational policing or our ability to respond to those who need us.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “As PCC, I am committed to providing a police service that is visible, accessible and meets the needs of our communities.

“These changes will free up the much needed resources to increase frontline policing in our neighbourhoods - those surveyed said that having more police officers and PCSOs on the streets would make people feel safer.

“These Helpdesk changes will have no adverse impact on frontline policing. Those stations that will no longer have helpdesks are still being used as a base for policing teams and will continue to be so as we continue to work to keep police officers at the heart of the communities they serve.

“I will continue to work with the Chief Constable to make sure people are made more aware of online reporting, crime tracking facilities and live-chat systems which make it easier to communicate with the police and are already widely used by the public.”

At the sites where public help desks are being closed, the force says the same number of officers will remain on duty.

Elsewhere, opening hours will be as follows:

Bradford District HQ (Trafalgar House, Bradford):
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, 10am to 6pm - Bank Holidays.

Keighley Police Station:
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, closed on Bank Holidays.

Kirklees District HQ (Huddersfield):
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, 10am to 6pm - Bank Holidays.

Dewsbury Police Station:
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, closed on Bank Holidays

Calderdale District HQ (Halifax):
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, 10am to 6pm - Bank Holidays.

Todmorden Police Station:
10am to 6pm Monday, closed during Bank Holidays and lunchtimes between 1pm-1:45pm.

Leeds District HQ (Elland Road):
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, 10am to 6pm Bank Holidays.

Leeds Central Police Station:
10am to 6pm - Monday to Friday, closed Bank Holidays. Closed during lunchtimes between 1-1:45pm.

Stainbeck Police Station:
8am to 10pm- Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, closed on Bank Holidays

Wakefield District HQ (Normanton):
8am to 10pm – Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm – Saturday and Sundays, 10am to 6pm Bank Holidays.

Northgate, Wakefield:
Currently closed for refurbishment. Due to re-open by March 2018 and will then be accessible Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10am and 3pm. Not open Bank Holidays.


Pontefract Town Centre:
10am to 3pm- Monday to Friday during the period of the Northgate refurbishment. Once Northgate re-opens, the Pontefract Help Desk will be available 10am to 3pm Wednesday and Friday only. Not open Bank Holidays.

Other options for the public are, dialling 999 in an emergency, 101 for non-emergency calls, and the force's website.

Every police station in West Yorkshire has a yellow telephone outside which can be used free of charge and links directly to staff in the police control centre.

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