Police station opening times cut from midnight to 5pm

PUBLISHED: 08:29 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

St Albans police station in Victoria Street

St Albans police station in Victoria Street

OPENING times St Albans police station have been cut following a review of front desk services across the county. Since last week the police station in Victoria Street has been open to the public from 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday and between 10am and 7

OPENING times St Albans police station have been cut following a review of front desk services across the county.

Since last week the police station in Victoria Street has been open to the public from 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday and between 10am and 7pm at the weekends.

It was originally open between 8am and midnight every day of the week.

A serving police officer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he was "disgusted" by the move to cut hours. He believes the station will now be very busy at the weekends with working people who are unable to call in between Monday and Friday.

He added: "When I joined the service the front inquiry office was a sacrosanct position. It was manned by a uniformed police officer for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whatever else had to go by the wayside, the front office never closed and was always manned. It offered a place of sanctuary and help to anyone who needed it."

He said: "What have we come to now when it is open during these pitiful opening hours. What kind of police 'service' is this to our public?"

But a spokesperson for Herts Police said the counter had rarely been open until midnight because it meant taking front-line officers off the street to man it if a staff member was off.

She also said that only an average of 4.3 crimes were reported at the station each day because the police favoured other means of communication.

She added: "Last year the police reviewed their front-desk county provision and their main findings were that hardly any people actually came into the station when we were open. The sort of things that people do report when they attend the station can, in the vast majority of cases, be done over the phone or on the website."

She explained that the number of issues that needed to be reported in person at a police station were limited to collision reports when someone had been injured and an officer had not attended the scene, together with bail reports and other similar reports to court orders.

And police officers could now check driving licence details with their handheld computers so driving documents needed to be produced at the station far less often.

She said that the station was still operational when the front counter was shut and that the control room could be contacted immediately via the phone on the wall outside.

Front counter services at Harpenden police station have also been slashed due to an average of around two crimes being reported a week there.

It will now be open between 8am and 2pm and then 3pm to 5pm on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. It was originally open between 10am and 2.30pm and then 3.30pm and 8pm Monday to Saturday.

London Colney police station is closed but has been replaced with "street meets" and surgeries with the mobile police station.

The front desk at Hatfield police station is open between 7am and 11pm Monday to Thursday, between 7am and 12am on Friday and Saturdays and from 10am to 8pm on Sundays.

Police have said they are keen to explore the possibility of linking up with local authorities to provide joint information and inquiry services.

The new service will be fully evaluated later this year.


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