Front counter at Welwyn Garden City police station to close

FRONT counter services at WGC Police Station are set to be axed in budget cuts.

Police conceded the austerity measure would leave people “upset” but insisted the cuts were essential in order to “protect frontline services”.

The force has to save �36m over the next four years to plug a funding gap in its budget, and the front office closure is one of “a range of measures” being looked at to rein in spending.

Chief inspector Dave Newsome justified the closure saying visitors are “infrequent and on average number less than 10 per day”.

But the closures will not extend to Hatfield Police Station, which he said: “Will continue to provide full front enquiry office services to the community, stretching across the seven day period and from early morning to late evening.”

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He added: “Hatfield Police Station currently sees high numbers of visitors; this is partly due to the presence of a full custody suite at Hatfield that naturally generates its own demand.”

As yet no timetable for the closure in WGC has been finalised, but chief inspector Newsome insisted that while “there may be some local concern” he said it didn’t mean the police station itself will be closed.

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And he said: “There are no plans to reduce the number of officers and Pcsos”.

A police spokeswoman said: “The constabulary’s top priority is to safeguard frontline policing and the removal of front counter services at less used or less remote stations allows us to use increasingly scarce resources to keep police officers and Pcsos on operational frontline duties.”

She added: “The increasing use of new technology, accuracy of mobile data and numbers of people contacting us by phone, rather than in person, means the use of front counters at police stations is lower than it has ever been. Hertfordshire will also be supporting the introduction of a new national 101 non-emergency number for police, which has now been announced.”

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