Herts Police Closing Front Counters

26 July 2013, 17:16 | Updated: 26 July 2013, 17:21

Hertfordshire Constabulary are reducing the number of police stations where a Front Enquiry Service will be available.

From 12 August, Hertfordshire Constabulary will offer a front counter service from custody stations only.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “This is just one of the difficult decisions that the Constabulary has had to make in order to meet the financial savings required whilst protecting vital, core services, particularly frontline policing delivery. 

“Though this is in some ways an operational decision it is an issue in which I take a particular interest – the means by which the public engage with the police being a key concern in my Police and Crime Plan, ‘Everybody’s Business’ – and it is something that I have been working on with the Chief Constable, Andy Bliss.

“The Constabulary is working hard to deliver on the strategic direction set in my plan, where I am clear that I want the police to be a highly visible presence in the community – and to go where people congregate.  Initiatives such as ‘street meets’ enable the public to more readily engage with their local officers. 

“Far more people now choose to contact the police in non-emergency situations by telephone and via the internet, than do so in person. Obviously, the 999 telephone service has been the primary means of emergency contact for many years.

“While there are suitable and effective alternatives to providing a front counter service at several police stations, it makes sense to capitalise on that and ensure that other services are safeguarded, such as child protection and Safer Neighbourhood policing.”

Superintendent Matthew Nicholls, for Hertfordshire Constabulary, explained: “The greater use of the phone and technology such as the Intenet has meant that we are already seeing a change in the way that we interact with the public. We have also seen a significant increase in the number of people using our online services. Footfall has continued to reduce and of those who do use the front counter provision only a small number actually require face to face contact.

“There are no plans to reduce the number of officers and PCSOs patrolling the towns and surrounding areas.

“We will retain the emergency phone at the entrance to all stations for public use which links directly to the Force Communications Room (dealing with non-emergency and 999 calls). This phone is accessible and available night and day should anyone need police assistance or advice.”

Commissioner Lloyd added: “Mr Bliss has reassured me that this move is a prudent one, and that measures are in place to ensure that it can be done without damaging the accessibility of his officers.”

From 12 August a Front Counter Service will be available from Hatfield, Hoddesdon, Stevenage and Watford. Details of the opening times for these stations can be found on the Herts Constabulary Website. This site also provides information on the way that the public can contact the police.

A reduced service will also continue to be available from the Three Rivers District Council office at Three Rivers House, Rickmansworth and Abbots Langley station.