Police could run inquiry desk at council offices

Oakham Police Station.  File picture.'Photo: MSMP130213-003ow
Oakham Police Station. File picture.'Photo: MSMP130213-003ow
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Police are in talks about running an inquiry desk at the county council offices as Oakham’s new police station will not have a reception.

Leicestershire Police has submitted a planning application to build a smaller office on its site in Station Road, as it looks to sell its current building to save money.

However, the application does not include a front desk and the force has confirmed it is in talks with Rutland County Council to run a service for members of the public at its Catmose offices.

The current inquiry desk at the police station is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm and 2.45pm to 6pm.

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: “The force is working with Rutland County Council to explore the feasibility of running an inquiry service from a shared location but no decisions have yet been made.”

Rutland County Council deputy leader Coun Terry King (Con) said: “We are happy to work with and support police on a solution which meets their needs. Discussions are taking place but nothing has been finalised yet.”

The current building costs about £80,000 to £90,000 to run each year but much of the office space and cells are not in use. The move could save Leicestershire Police £60,000 to £70,000 a year.

Ron Simpson, company secretary for Rutland Neighbourhood Watch Association, has highlighted the positives and negatives of a one-stop-shop.

He said: “A purpose-designed one-stop-shop or helpdesk can save money, allowing resources to be diverted into front line policing, but needs well-trained staff with immediate back up.

“A majority of the community now contact the police online, or by telephone, but there is still community expectation of a public face-to-face contact point. Note, however, that Uppingham has no public desk but community contact with beat officers is good as they come and go from the town centre.”

He says making sure people have privacy is essential.

The police force has applied for permission to build a two-storey extension with timber cladding on the outside. There will still be space for car parking. Police plan to operate from the site while the extension is built.