Redcar & Cleveland Headquarters at Kirkleatham
Cleveland Police will be making cost-effective changes to the opening hours of three of the four district offices to match public demand for its services. The proposals were presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who has supported the plans.
The Force undertook a three month footfall review of the four District Police offices to identify whether the opening hours provided matched the communities’ requirements.
The outcome of the review revealed only one or two visits were made to Kirkleatham, Stockton and Hartlepool police offices between 10.00pm and 8.00am each day, with around five made to Middlesbrough office - these were chiefly to access the centralised custody suit. The figures for daytime visits were significantly higher.
This disparity has led to the decision to operate the three offices of Kirkleatham, Stockton and Hartlepool daily between 8.00am and 10.00pm, with the provision of video contact facilities after 10pm. Middlesbrough will remain a 24hr face to face service for anyone wishing to attend a police office in person, as well as continuing the current access for custody purposes.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "As part of a review of the police estate, these proposals have been made, which I have scrutinised and fully support.
"Times are changing - most people now prefer to contact the police by phone and very rarely will they walk to a police office, therefore we need to provide a better front desk service that matches public demand.
"My role is to ensure that the Force provides the best possible service in the most efficient way and these plans link to my priority of working for better industrial and community relations."
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: "Operational Policing will continue from each of the four stations without any changes and members of the public can attend at any time to meet with a police officer by appointment.
"But we need to take account of the way the public expect to engage with us. With advances in technology and particularly the increase in the use of social media by the public, we need to ensure that the way we communicate with our communities is the most effective possible. The three locations, where our opening hours reduce, will be provided with up to date video technology that links the small number of out of hour callers to our staff, who will, if necessary, arrange for an officer to meet the caller.
"We have increased our use of social media over the last year with most neighbourhoods now having their own Facebook and Twitter sites to keep the community abreast of what is happening in their area.
"And we hope to build on these relationships we are establishing through the use of technology, whilst always ensuring we are not compromising on the quality of the service we provide."
As part of the review, a number of other police forces were visited and/or comparisons of working practices were made. The vast majority of forces (including our neighbouring forces of Durham Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police) do not operate 24/7 staffed front desks or they limit 24/7 to one police office within the Force.
Video telephones will also be installed at the entrances to Hartlepool, Stockton and Kirkleatham Police Stations for use when the front desks are not staffed, which will link directly to Middlesbrough front desk.
Posted on Friday 16th May 2014