Brentwood police station faces dramatic cut in opening hours
Brentwood police station’s public opening hours will be cut from 24 hours a day to just 36 hours a week if proposals get the go-ahead.
The London Road site could see its front counter open only from noon to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Under Essex Police’s plans it would not open on Sundays.
Nine other stations in the county that currently open 24 hours will stay open on Sundays, opening from 8am to midnight every day.
The plans are part of the force’s blueprint for making �41million of cuts before 2014. It is estimated that the reduction in opening hours would save about �2.5m.
Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “Even when a front counter service desk is closed, officers in many cases will still use the building as a base.
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“Officers will continue to be available on patrol 24 hours a day, regardless of whether the front office is open.”
Mel Watts, deputy secretary of the force’s Unison branch, said: “There are people who prefer to go into a police station to report crime. Some people feel there’s safety by having a police station open and having people working in it.”
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The proposals are subject to a consultation with the union, which will take at least three months.
Unison estimates 90 staff across the county would be made redundant by the proposals, although where they would come from forms part of the consultation.
An Essex Police spokesman added: “We have monitored attendance at each police station. Brentwood was found to have less demand than other stations in the western division.”
The union wants a more comprehensive survey before the cuts go ahead.
Elsewhere in Essex 21 police stations, including Ongar, will be closed to the public completely.