Two town police stations are set to be closed to the public by Northamptonshire Police – and Rushden’s will be open only 12 hours a week.
The front counters at the stations in Oundle and Brackley will be shut from April 1 by the force, which says that each receives a very low number of visitors.
And Rushden’s police station will be cut from five days a week to three half-days – between 2pm and 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Wellingborough and Corby’s front counters will be open from 10am to 6pm Mondays to Saturdays, while Kettering police’s public enquiry desk will move to the borough council offices in Bowling Green Road. It will be open Mondays to Saturdays 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Adrian Lee said fewer people now visit police stations, with most contact made by phone – and online enquiries also growing.
He said: “Public enquiry desks have long been an important part of a traditional police station and we know people feel reassured by having a police presence in their local community.
“As part of the review, we have looked at how often people visit the enquiry desks, the reasons they do so and the times they visit, and this has shown that the use of these facilities at certain times and in some locations is very low.
“We have also spoken to other forces that have recently made changes to their public enquiry desk provision and they too had recorded a marked decrease in the number of people visiting police station front offices.
“As such, to ensure we make the best use of the resources we have available, we will be introducing revised opening hours in all locations from April 1.”
Labour has criticised the move. MP Andy Sawford said: “People in Oundle will be concerned that they will no longer be able to go into the station and speak to the police.”
Labour’s general election candidate for Kettering Rhea Keehn said police commissioner Adam Simmonds had created confusion.
She added: “The community are worried about the impact of the move on public and personal safety.”