Concerns over Royston police station closure

Royston Police Station

Royston Police Station - Credit: Archant

FRONT counter services at a police station are to be closed, prompting concerns over where people will go to report crime.

Royston’s police station will cease to operate service from August 12.

It is among eight stations across the county affected, including Letchworth GC and Hitchin, with Herts Constabulary only keeping front desks open at custody stations, such as Stevenage.

There are claims the closure could impact on crime being reported.

Les Baker, the secretary for the North East Hertfordshire Constituency Labour Party, said: “This latest move is just a result of the council having to juggle a budget and concentrate on frontline staff. It’s disappointing because it will dilute the perception of the police as protectors for people in the area.

“This is despite the police doing their very best to react to calls as and when they come in.”

Following their closure, an emergency phone at the entrance of the station will be kept for public use through the day and night. They will link directly to the force communications room.

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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 while protecting vital, core services, particularly frontline policing delivery.

“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 other services are safeguarded, such as child protection and Safer Neighbourhood policing.”

Herts Police has stressed the closures will not result in any cuts to officers and PCSOs patrolling the town.

And it has claimed that it has plans in place to ensure accessibility to those officers is not restricted.

Superintendent Matthew Nicholls said: “The greater use of the phone and technology such as the internet 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.”