Anger as proposal to close police inquiry desk gets the green light

Leigh police station
Leigh police station

The public inquiry counter at Leigh police station is to close - despite opponents to the move branding it a “disgrace”.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have announced plans to close 10 of its 22 counters where demand is at its lowest after holding a consultation to gauge public opinion on the plan.

GMP said the review has been running since 2015 and considered changes that could be made to ensure services are being used in the most effective way, recognising that members of the public are accessing services in new ways.

The counters in Leigh, Altrincham, Chadderton, Fred Perry House in Stockport, Horwich, Hyde, Middleton, Pendleton, Whitefield and Wythenshawe will close in February.

Officer numbers will not change and members of the public will still be able to visit the police station for pre-arranged appointments.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “We’ve worked extremely closely with the people of Greater Manchester while making these decisions, including a full, month-long public consultation and meetings with key communities.

“We’ve also looked at the current service provision in great detail, analysing what we can do to continue to allocate resources appropriately.

“We are transforming policing in Greater Manchester and these changes will help us focus on meeting demand that already exists. We need people’s continued support as we make changes to ensure we are focused on keeping people safe and providing the best service possible.

“While counters are being used less and less, we are looking at new ways for people to contact us, including plans for a transformed website that directs people to relevant partner agencies depending on the reason for the visit and a new online chat facility that means people will soon be able to communicate with GMP in real time via the internet.

“In addition, GMP will provide access to an online loss reporting system where members of the public can report any lost property online.”

But Ukip’s Leigh chairman Jayson Lomax-Hargreaves, who launched a petition calling for the counter in the town to be kept open, has said the decision is “a disgrace”.

He said: “I think it is a disgrace. They are taking away the last resemblance of a police station in this part of the borough. Atherton and Tyldesley have already gone.

“This side of the borough is being ignored and the people of Leigh are being left behind.

“Most of the people I spoke to wanted to keep the counter because it will make a big difference if people are having to travel to Wigan or Bolton.I will be looking into whether there is anything we can do to or anyway we can appeal.”

More than 600 people signed the petition.