Police stations set for the axe

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The decision to close two Wyre police stations has sparked fury amongst members of the public.

Cleveleys and Poulton stations will be axed while the front counter at Garstang will be closed.

The announcement comes after three months of consultation on plans which should save cash-strapped Lancashire Police £890,000 a year.

Police chiefs are hoping to move the inquiry desk from Poulton into the town’s Civic Centre.

The closures come after months of consultation and campaigning.

Lancashire Police chiefs say they have been forced to close front counters and sell off buildings as part of a bid to save £42m over the next four years.

Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson is unhappy at the decision to close Poulton station and put a counter service into Wyre Civic Centre because, he says, no discussions with police over such a move have ever taken place.

He said: “Our area now has just Fleetwood for a front desk, which is not particularly central to Wyre. After that we have to look at Lancaster. The distances involved are tremendous.

“When you consider they have kept open Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth in the rest of the division, it seems grossly unfair.

“And at no point have we sat down and talked about hosting officers at the civic centre. We will facilitate them if that’s what they want – it would have been nice to have had a conversation beforehand.”

John Bailie, from the Concerned Residents of Poulton group, said: “The community needs that on the spot visible protection. Keeping the front counter is nowhere near enough, and certainly not having it at a somewhat removed location.”

All the front counters will be closed on June 1, next year.

In Cleveleys, Coun Penny Martin said: “A police station is a sign the police have some faith in the community.

“It’s certainly going to leave a big hole. It will be a massive loss to the town.”

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said the force examined the “operational impact, strength of public concern, footfall and the availability of alternative venues” in making decisions.

Mr Finnigan added: “We’re determined to continue to deliver top quality services, that’s what my staff are all about. I don’t see that we’re going to step away from that.”