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Proposed closure of the front desk at Congleton Police Station

Congleton Town Council has rejected Cheshire Police’s idea of closing the front desk at Congleton Police Station in its response to the current consultation. Now the council is urging residents to have their say before the consultation ends on 27 March 2022.

Cheshire Police launched a consultation on 14 February seeking public views on closing 11 of the 16 front desks at stations across Cheshire. The consultation can be seen at www.cheshire.police.uk

Congleton Town Council rejected the idea of closing the front desk in Congleton on the following grounds:

  1. On Page 11 of the Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation it states, “Improve public contact”, the help desk clearly provides this service, which is simple and reliable, the 101 system is not reliable in many situations
  2. On Page 21 you ask you about how you prefer to get in touch with the police to ensure our public contact methods reflect public need and “there are a broad range of contact options available.” and “I will continue to invest in neighbourhood policing to ensure there is a visible police presence in all our communities.” Surely taking away the help desk reduces the broad range of options as well as visibility  
  3. The front desk effectively triages people coming in – many of the people are not necessarily reporting incidents that end up becoming police statistics but if the officer wasn’t there these would either be missed or would take up time from the beat team to report rather than being the public face of the police within our community
  4. The front desk is also where people who have to report to as part of bail, CBO or other orders – using a phone outside the Police station to speak to Winsford, who will then need to find someone in the Congleton Station to see them, this appears to take up additional resource leaving the residents outside of the police station not aware what is happening. – not consumer friendly
  5. Many of Congleton’s older and more vulnerable members of society see the front desk as essential. The 101 system is clearly not a reliable method in terms of the time it may take. This is more of a problem for the elderly who may also find it difficult to report online, therefore their needs are not being met which is an issue for inclusivity
  6. The front desk offers a perceived sanctuary to those that unfortunately feel physically threatened, as reporting these issues on a phone is not always possible

In the consultation Cheshire Police is recommending keeping open five front desks at Blacon, Crewe, Warrington, Widnes and Macclesfield police stations whilst recommending closure at Chester Town Hall and at Ellesmere Port, Winsford, Stockton Heath, Penketh, Runcorn, Congleton, Wilmslow, Knutsford and Nantwich police stations

Congleton Town Mayor, Councillor Denis Murphy said: “If you have an opinion about the front desk at Congleton Police Station, please make the time to give your views by the 27 March. I fear that a lack of response will be taken to mean that people in Congleton are not concerned about the closure of the front desk. I do not believe this is the case and I am pleased that the Town Council has written to Cheshire Constabulary giving its opinions and reasons why the front desk should remain open.”