Ten police public enquiry counters are to close as Greater Manchester Police announcing changes following a review into services.
From 27 February 2017, 10 counters where public demand is the lowest will close. This includes Altrincham, Chadderton, Fred Perry House (Stockport Council), Horwich, Hyde, Leigh, Middleton, Pendleton, Whitefield and Wythenshawe.
The review has been running since 2015 and has considered changes that could be made to ensure services are being used in the most effective way, recognising that members of the public are accessing services in new ways.
As part of the review, 10 of GMP’s 22 public enquiry counters were considered, with a full public consultation taking people’s feedback into account before a final decision was made.
Officer numbers will not change in any of these areas, and the stations will still be used as a base for GMP staff and officers.
Members of the public will still be able to visit the police station for pre-arranged appointments and neighbourhood meetings will continue to take place within communities.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “We’ve worked extremely closely with the people of Greater Manchester while making these decisions, including a full, month-long public consultation and meetings with key communities. We’ve also looked at the current service provision in great detail, analysing what we can do to continue to allocate resources appropriately.
“We are transforming policing in Greater Manchester and these changes will help us focus on meeting demand that already exists. We need people’s continued support as we make changes to ensure we are focused on keeping people safe and providing the best service possible.
“While counters are being used less and less, we are looking at new ways for people to contact us, including plans for a transformed website that directs people to relevant partner agencies depending on the reason for the visit and a new online chat facility that means people will soon be able to communicate with GMP in real time via the internet.
“In addition, GMP will provide access to an online loss reporting system where members of the public can report any lost property online. Such systems are insurance industry recognised, provide users with a lost property reference number and have seen significant improvements in the success rate for reuniting property with its original owner. These changes are a crucial step in ensuring our services match the needs of the people that we serve”.
The review found that the 10 counters being considered generated just 18% of demand across the whole of Greater Manchester. Some, such as the counter at Horwich Police Station, saw as little as one member of the public attending per day during the review.
More than two thousand people responded to GMP’s survey on how they access services, with just 10 per cent saying they had been in to a public enquiry counter in the last 10 years but half of respondents (50 per cent) saying they had looked at GMP’s website or contacted them online.