Ottery police office hours cuts threat

OPENING hours at Ottery police station could be cut to save cash in a force-wide review.

OPENING hours at Ottery police station could be cut to save cash in a force-wide review.

Station hours might be chopped from nine a week to six by the end of the year.

Ottery sergeant Simon Tennant said police coverage of the town will be "totally unaffected".

The town was handed its first ever part-time enquiry officer in October last year, when a new Broad Street police base opened.

Tracey Colletti is drafted in from Honiton to man the station's front desk from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Superintendant Peter Strawbridge confirmed Devon and Cornwall Police was conducting a review of its public enquiry office services, including Ottery's, and when and where people have face to face contact with officers.

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"We need to be sure that, overall, we are giving local people best value for money - 'working clever' to meet people's needs as conveniently for them as we can, in how we provide our front counter and other contact site services," he said.

"A mainly weekday, office hours service may not be the best for many peoples' needs and we have found there are now times when very few customers come to some of our enquiry counters over periods of many hours.

"It is a long time since there was a force-wide public survey of our customers' views about access to police services.

"Police station enquiry offices...may not always be the locations that will best meet people's needs."

He said the force had an "absolute commitment" to provide a locally-based neighbourhood policing service and recognised a local station enquiry service was just one element of this.

He said neighbourhood officers and PCSOs will speak with those "who can reflect wider views in their communities", and survey the views of customers who visit the public counter this month.

"When all the information we gain has been considered, we would aim to introduce any updating of services arising from the review by the end of 2010."

A police spokesman said the review should be complete by the end of June or beginning of July.