Petition launched after Northumbria Police office hours slashed

South Shields Police Station
South Shields Police Station

Plans to slash the opening times police front office desks are open to the public - including South Shields - have prompted the launch of an online petition.

People are being urged to get behind the campaign against the move to reduce the hours and availability of front office desks to the public. In South Tyneside, residents will lose a police front office desk, currently based at Hebburn Central, altogether from July 17.

Hebburn Central where a police front office desk is currently based

Hebburn Central where a police front office desk is currently based

At the same time access to South Shields police station will also be reduced from 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week to 8am to 8pm.

The move has hit a nerve with local councillors who have contacted Northumbria Police over the lack of consultation ahead of the plans being announced, last month.

Now, an online petition has been launched by trade union Unison against the move.

Regional organiser, police and justice in the Northern Region, Peter Chapman said: “We know there needs to be change due to the cuts the government has imposed on them, and we know the service they are providing is unsustainable - but there was no consultation period with our members or with the general public.

There has been no phased approach to this and we don’t know how this will impact on victims.

Peter Chapman

“They will go from 11 stations providing a 24-hour service to one station - in a move we see as far too radical.

“As well as concerns we have to the impact this will have on communities, our members could be facing job cuts or a reduction in pay.

“There has been no phased approach to this and we don’t know how this will impact on victims.

Unison are calling on people to raise their concerns with councillors and MPs.

A force spokesman said: “Northumbria Police are aware of a petition started by Unison currently circulating around the changes to our front desks.

“Once again we want to reassure the public that these changes do not affect the number of operational stations across the force or the availability of our front line officers.

“The trade unions, particularly Unison, have been involved since January in discussions on the proposed model and the impact on their members.

“Chief and Senior Officers are meeting with senior councillors and partner organisations to discuss the changes and address any concerns.

Chief Constable Steve Ashman has previously said: “We are still wrestling with the impact of austerity and the cuts that we have faced in Northumbria are the largest of any force in the country.

“This has meant that we have to make difficult decisions whilst striving to deliver the best possible service to our communities.

“We know that the public want to see police officers on the street and we are changing the way we work in order to protect this.

“We also know that residents don’t want to have to go to a police station in order to report information but rather report it in their own home and at a time that is convenient for them.

“We always strive to provide an outstanding service to everyone in our communities and this investment into online and social communication will enable us to continue to do that.”

To sign the petition, click here