Police defend desk closure


SOUTH Yorkshire Police has reassured the people of Maltby following the closure of its enquiry desk in the town.

The force has reduced its number of enquiry desks in stations from 19 to six, which will help it save around £500,000 a year.

The nearest enquiry desk is now at Main Street, in Rotherham.

The force stressed it was not closing any police station.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt explained that while the force used to have more enquiry desks, many were only open for a few hours a day and then sometimes closed temporarily due to staff shortages, which meant an inconsistent service to people.

“Our research showed that most of the enquiry desks received very few visitors and indeed, one desk had only one enquiry in a week,” he said.

“New technology has meant fewer people having to produce documents at enquiry desks and the public has shown that they wish to contact us by other means – telephone or email.

“And during the August riots elsewhere in the country, hundreds of local people also contacted us via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.”

“We have to meet people’s demands in how they want to contact their police force and so we decided to streamline our enquiry desks, ensuring that the remaining six work on a more structured basis, with set hours and regular staffing.”

“Of course we recognise that people may still prefer face-to-face contact with an officer and if so, then they can make an appointment.”

From 4th November the force will adopt 101 as its new non-emergency number instead of the current 0114 2202020. This number allows people to report incidents less urgent than 999, gain crime prevention advice and talk to their Safer Neighbourhood Team.