People in Oakham looking to report crimes and have their police inquiries answered will soon have to go to council offices to do so.
Leicestershire Police and Rutland County Council have finalised a deal to host an inquiry desk at the council offices in Catmose, Oakham, as part of the force’s savings plan.
The move is set to be made in April next year.
The decision has been taken because the force has been given planning permission by Rutland County Council to build a new smaller office on the car park behind the current police station in Station Road, Oakham, which will not include a front desk.
Much of the current station is not in use, and once the new facility is built, it will be put on the market. Moving to a smaller station which is expected to save Leicestershire Police £60,000 to £70,000 a year.
Chief Supt Chris Haward believes the front desk relocation will be a success as it has been in other parts of the country. He said: “We’re confident the move can work. It allows us to keep a front counter in the county and that is important.
“Our reviews found that people were coming to the desk with a range of issues, not just policing.
“We’ll be joining together with the council to provide a much more rounded service.
“It’s worked elsewhere in the country so there’s no reason why it won’t work here.”
The opening hours of the desk are set to be reduced slightly from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, to 10am to 4pm on weekdays. It will remain closed at the weekend.
The counter will operate at the council’s reception desk, where a member of police staff will be on hand for the public.
Inquiry desks are used to report crimes, answer bail and hand in lost property.
Chief Supt Haward said anonymity can still be kept when sensitive inquiries and reports of crime are dealt with.
As part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, the force has to find efficiency savings of £20m by 2016.
In June, when the proposal was first announced, it was revealed that Oakham police station has an average of 43 people per week through its doors. But some desks had fewer than 30 people a week.
Four front inquiry desks are set to close at stations in Syston, Lutterworth, Belgrave and Braunstone.
Chief Supt Haward added: “We felt it was important to keep a desk open in Oakham because people would have to travel a great distance for an alternative option.”
The new smaller station will be where local police are based and will clock in and out for shifts.