POLICE DEFEND CUT IN STATION OPENING HOURS

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RYE police station has seen its opening hours slashed.

The station, in Cinque Ports Street, is one of a number in the county to see its opening hours cut as Sussex Police strive to make £52 million savings over the next four years.

The station was open from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturday.

Now it is open from 10am to 2pm and closed on Saturdays. It is also closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Police chief Heather Keating said: “Sussex Police understands how important neighbourhood policing is to our communities and we have promised to protect this despite the need to make savings of £52 million by 2015.

“Our foremost priority is to keep our police officers out on the streets and working with their local communities.

“We recognise that some of our current buildings and processes were designed decades ago to serve an incredibly different world and the way people want to contact us is changing.

“Most people contact us over the phone rather than by visiting a front office. The majority of visitors to police stations at the times that we are reducing hours are related to custody, bail or lost property.

“Many of our front counters have, on average, less than one visitor an hour.

“Considerable research and consultation with the public suggests that most people do not currently know the opening hours of their local police station front office and are willing to use alternative ways to get in touch with us.

“Many would prefer to make an appointment rather than just ‘’drop in’’. When asked their preferences for opening hours, the majority preferred office hours.

“The conclusion of our review is that there are alternative ways that people can contact us that would be more convenient for them and less expensive to run.

“The total cost of current front office arrangements is £4.2 million each year.

“By changing opening hours of front offices at times that they are not well used by the public we will save over £2 million per year. Making savings here will mean we can protect policing in local communities.

“Please be reassured that even when the front counter service is not open, the police station is still staffed and functioning normally.

“In an emergency you will always be able to contact us quickly through our 999 number.

“We have one of the best records of all forces in the country at answering these calls quickly.

“Your policing service is provided by many people working from a number of different locations, which includes but is not limited to, your local police station.

“For example, officers do not respond to 999 calls from police stations, but are already out on patrol across Sussex.

“People who have been arrested are taken to centralised custody centres, not a local station.

“We are confident that the overall service you receive will not change.”