Lancashire Police station closures plan revealed

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan
Image caption Chief Constable Steve Finnigan is overseeing £42m of cuts over four years

Police chiefs in Lancashire plan to close more than 50 premises including stations, rural bases and front counters to help save £42m.

The plan, which will net £4m and save an estimated £1m in annual running costs, follows a review of how the force uses its properties.

No changes will be made to its busiest stations but eight others including Lytham and Fulwood would close.

The force admitted the plan might cause "anxiety and concern" among the public.

Senior managers met last week to discuss the strategy, which aims to close a number of front counter desks and dispose of premises which are underused or unoccupied.

A total of 34 buildings, including some operational police stations, would join 14 already on the market under the plan.

Digital services

The front desks of 12 police stations - including Darwen, Kirkham and Ormskirk - would close, leaving people in those areas with nowhere to walk in and report a crime.

Dozens of rural beat bases which are no longer used and buildings would be closed and sold-off, as well as eight major stations including:

  • Lytham
  • Poulton
  • Cleveleys
  • Fulwood
  • Rawtenstall
  • Bacup
  • Haslingden
  • Earby

Asst Ch Con (ACC) Andy Cooke said he believed closures would improve services because people would no longer be sent to different counters depending on the service they needed.

"However, we recognise that police station closures can cause anxiety and concern amongst local people which is why we are asking the Lancashire public for their views to ensure that we are taking these into account when making the final decision on closures later this year," he added.

The force has about 200 different bases across the county and now relies less on the public approaching them in person.

"The continued development of online and digital services also provides additional opportunities for the public to access services differently and this will continue as technology moves forward," said ACC Cooke.

The Lancashire Police Authority stressed that no decisions had yet been taken and urged members of the public to offer their views.

Maureen Le Marinel, of Unison - which represents police staff - said members had raised the issue with the force but remained cautious about potential job losses.

"Any closure of front counters will impact on the jobs of our members and we will continue to work with the Constabulary in order to mitigate any job losses through proper consultation and using agreed procedures," she said.

The Police Federation said it would fully support the loss of the buildings if it contributed towards protecting police officer jobs.

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