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House of Commons Hansard
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Closure of Dudley Police Station to the public
24 March 2015
Volume 594

The Petition of residents of the Dudley North constituency,

Declares that the Petitioners are opposed to the proposal to close Dudley Police Station to the public.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make resources available to keep Dudley Police Station open to the public.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Ian Austin, Official Report, 10 March 2015; Vol. 594, c. 268.]

[P001449]

Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department:

Decisions about the most effective use of available resources, including the numbers and operating hours of police stations, are a matter for the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable locally, tailored to the needs of the local community.

It is important not to confuse buildings with the availability and accessibility of the police. There are many good examples of forces finding new ways to engage with the public. By making savings through police station closures they are able to prioritise front-line policing and new ways of working.

These include the non-emergency number 101, which was introduced in December 2011 and now receives over 2.5 million calls each month. Forces are also exploring how mobile technology, the internet and digital capabilities can open up new opportunities for public engagement. The way people prefer to access public services is changing. Over 70% of us bought goods and services online last year (Office for National Statistics 2014) and an increasingly tech-savvy public expect more from their interactions with public services.

The Government are working with Surrey and Sussex Police to develop a prototype for people to report non-emergency crime online through www.Police.uk. This will give victims greater choice over how they report issues to the police.

Technology also has the power to transform policing by allowing officers easy and digestible access to information on mobile devices, so they can make effective decisions out on the street without having to waste time returning to the station and searching on multiple systems.

In summary, the Government recognise that the public want a range of ways to contact the police, and they want these to be better, quicker and more responsive. All forces need to look at the way frontline services are delivered to ensure that the quality of service provided is maintained or improved. The effectiveness of a police force depends on how well the resources available are used.