Cleveland Police to close front desks with the loss of 73 jobs

Iain Spittal Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Iain Spittal said there has been a shift in favour of telephone contact and other means such as social media to communicate with officers

Cleveland Police is to close the front desks at nine of its "underused" stations with the loss of 73 jobs.

The force said following a three-month study carried out last year, it found that on average many of the desks were used by less than one visitor per day.

The move will save about £3m per year, with about six full-time posts at risk.

Temporary chief constable Iain Spittal said they were not withdrawing from communities but providing the most cost-effective service to local people.

Video phones will be placed at the front of each building so that there is a direct link to the police control room, the force said.

The front desks at Saltburn, Loftus, Coulby Newham, Billingham, Thornaby, Guisborough, South Bank, Eston and Redcar town office will close.

The force closed Yarm station in 2014, saving £19,000 a year.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "I do not underestimate the strength of feeling around topics such as front counters, but it's so important that we look after the public purse and have honest conversations about services that are being funded but that are underused."

In June 2010 Cleveland Police entered into a ten-year outsourcing contract with Sopra Steria, with 500 civilian jobs transferred to the company.

About 73 jobs will go under the plans, with about 20 posts transferring back to the force.

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