A POLICE chief has reassured campaigners battling to save local police stations – including those at Cleveleys and Poulton – that their views will affect the final decision.
Concerned residents have made their views clear at meetings across the Fylde coast in recent weeks, demanding top officers keep their area’s police station or front counters open.
And now that Lancashire Police’s 12-week consultation process has ended, Chief Supt Tim Jacques has moved to reassure concerned locals it is not a “done-deal” services will be axed.
The police stations at Poulton, Cleveleys and Lytham are under-threat of closure along with the front desks at South Shore, Kirkham and Bispham.
The Poulton and Cleveleys stations would be sold off under the plans to help the force save a massive £42m over the next four years.
Fleetwood station would then become a central hub for that part of Wyre.
Chief Supt Jacques said: “People have said it’s a done-deal right from the beginning – that is a natural reaction.
“We’ve been really clear that is not the case. If we had wanted to do a box-ticking consultation we would have done it in four weeks rather than 12.
“The chief constable has been clear from the beginning this is real consultation and no decisions have been made.
“The responses to the consultation have ranged from people who support what we’re doing and people who understand the context but just don’t want it to affect their police station.”
Across Lancashire – where 21 premises are under threat – around 1,000 residents completed surveys while hundreds more took part in the consultation through meetings, e-mails and petitions.
Chief Supt Jacques said all concerns and suggestions would be reviewed before a final decision on the closures is taken in the middle of November.
He promised that, if all the stations were confirmed for closure, full reasons would be given.
Norman Irish, a former Fleetwood councillor who lives in Poulton, said: “I do think the police will listen – but it depends on what comprises they feel they are actually able to make.”
The 21 premises were ear-marked for closure after it was revealed they were only dealing with 19 per cent of all police station calls, while the remaining 17 stations dealt with many more – 81 per cent of visitors.