Police say there won’t be staff cuts after front-office closure

News from Northumbria Police
News from Northumbria Police

The number of police in Amble will not be cut as a result of the town losing its front-office provision, councillors were assured.

Last month, it was announced that Northumbria Police was cutting the opening hours at stations across the region, including Alnwick, Amble and Berwick.

The Force said that the changes have been made in response to a significant decline in the use of front offices

In Amble, it means that the town has gone from having 9am to 5pm provision five-days a week, to no front-office provision at all. The changes came into effect at the start of this week.

At last Thursday’s Amble Town Council, Sergeant Ian Forster said that Amble was one of the quieter bases, but said the changes would not impact policing in The Friendliest Port.

He said: “Northumbria Police has had one of the largest cuts in its budget of any force. Staffing in front offices hasn’t been reviewed since 2006.

“As a result, most police stations have had a reduction in their opening hours and three of the quietist – including Amble – have lost their front-office provision.

“They looked at the costs in relation to people attending front offices and in Amble it worked out as £40 per person, compared to £4 per person at the busier ones.

“I know there were times when it was busy and people might have had to queue, but at Amble, it averaged out as two people per day attending the office.

“I want to reiterate that Amble is not closing down and there is no change in the staffing levels. This review has nothing to do with the numbers of police; the service from the police will not change.

“The vast majority of incidents that are reported to us are by phone – either 999 or 101 – or via the website.

“There is also a new community-messaging system called Your Northumbria and I would also urge people to approach police officers when they see them.”

He added that he would endeavour to increase foot patrols around Amble.

Most police stations in the Northumbria Police Force area have had changes made to their opening hours, in response to a ‘significant decline in the use of front offices’.

Amble is one of three to lose its front-office provision. The other two are Killingworth and Hebburn. All three had previously been open 9am to 5pm, five days a week.

In Alnwick, the station was open from 8am to midnight, but will now be open 9am to 5pm, five days a week. Berwick was 24/7, but will now be 9am to 5pm, five days a week. In Morpeth and Ashington, there will be no change, remaining at 9am to 5pm, five days a week.

Northumbria Police says that the savings that are generated will be used to support operational policing and invest in greater accessibility to the service, as well as putting further investment into the 101 contact centres to make significant improvements to the current service. The Force adds that there are no plans to close any operational stations.