Hartlepool station spared as Cleveland Police cost-cutting axes front desks with loss of jobs

Hartlepool Police Station.
Hartlepool Police Station.

The front desk at Hartlepool police HQ will remain open while smaller stations - including BIllingham - face the axe in a Cleveland Police cost-cutting drive.

The force has vowed to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum, admits there will be job losses as a result of the closures of front desks at Billingham, Saltburn, Loftus, Coulby Newham, Thornaby, Guisborough, South Bank, Eston and Redcar Town Office.

Six full-time roles are at risk

Police officers will continue to patrol from these stations and appointments will still be held with members of the public, while video phones will be placed at the front of each building so that there is a direct link to the control room. Drop-in session will be held elsewhere.

Reception areas at the main police stations, including Avenue Road in Hartlepool, Middlehaven in Middlesbrough, Kirkleatham in Redcar, and Thistle Green in Stockton will remain open between 8am and 8pm.

The announcement comes after research conducted by the force between August and October, last year, concluded that some front desks average less than one visitor a day.

Front counters in Eston, Loftus, South Bank, Guisboroug and Saltburn had less than one visit per day on average for the three month period.

Redcar town office had on average 2.7 visits per day and Thornaby had an average of 2.1 visits per day.

These figures include receiving deliveries, people handing in lost property and the reception dealing with people arriving for appointments.

The front desk service is provided by Sopra Steria as part of the ten-year outsourcing contract with Cleveland Police.

The closures form part of a wider scale change to make savings of about £2.9million per year and reduce the workforce by around 73 full time posts, with 20 staff transferring back to Cleveland Police.

Temporary Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “This change does not mean that we are withdrawing from our communities, it is about a common sense approach to ensure that we provide the best and most cost effective service to local people.

“There has been a shift in favour of telephone contact and other means such as social media to communicate with officers. The public can still meet with officers face-to-face through convenient appointments, and they will continue to be accessible in other public places.

“We are becoming a much more technological society and as the needs of the public changes, we must adapt and use our budgets wisely.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The research has been made available to me and I am confident that Cleveland Police can deliver the right service to communities with the alternative arrangements on offer.

“I do not underestimate the strength of feeling around topics such as front counters, but it’s so important that we look after the public purse and have honest conversations about services that are being funded but that are underused. “