HUNDREDs of hours of police front-counter services are to be lost and offices closed as Derbyshire Constabulary looks to slash its spending.
Enquiry office services, which are offered to the general public wanting to speak with an officer at a station’s front desk, are to be shaken up to help save £500,000.
But while the office will remain open in Matlock, it is not good news for other offices such as Belper and Alfreton among others, which are being closed.
Bakewell will also have its opening hours more than halved from 41.5 hours a week to just 20.
The changes will begin taking take place from this weekend..
Following reductions in police budgets announced in October 2010 the force was left with a budget deficit of £13m by the end of 2012/13 and a predicted total of £24m by 2014/15.
Derbyshire Dales Inspector Bryan Hall said: “Enquiry offices are an important means of engagement and reassurance to the community and it is very unfortunate that we have had to make closures across Derbyshire.
“Derbyshire Constabulary has to make budget cuts and a review has identified that savings could be made in the provision of enquiry offices without seriously affecting public access to the police.
“The way we deliver services to the public has changed over the past few years and people are now able to arrange scheduled appointments to be seen by a police officer at a venue to suit them. Other enquiries can be made by ringing 101 or by logging on to the force website,” he added.
“Despite this there are times when people will still want to visit a police enquiry office and given the sheer geographical size of the Derbyshire Dales Section area we believe it would not be practicable to close the enquiry offices at Matlock, Bakewell and Ashbourne even though footfall is comparatively low at Bakewell and Ashbourne.
“However, to take account of this low footfall we have reduced opening hours at Ashbourne police station to 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and at Bakewell 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday.
“Finally, people need to remember that the Derbyshire Dales area has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and that it is a very safe place to live and work.”
Insp Hall also added there were no plans to close either Bakewell or Ashbourne stations, despite ongoing public concerns.
The first office to close will be Heanor this Saturday, followed by New Mills on Friday, February 24.
Dates have not yet been set for the closure of offices at Chapel-en-le-Frith, Dronfield, Killamarsh, Shirebrook, Staveley, Alfreton and Belper
Services located at section stations at Swadlincote, Matlock, Glossop, Clay Cross, Bolsover, Ripley, Ilkeston and Long Eaton will open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Chesterfield and Derby divisional headquarters will open 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm Saturdays and 10am to 8pm Sundays.
Buxton would open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Saturdays and 10am to 2pm Sundays.
Ashbourne will open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and Bakewell 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday.