helpdesk - Nantwich Police Station - April 2021 (1) (1)

Nantwich police station is among a number which will no longer have a helpdesk for residents to report to.

Cheshire Police has moved ahead with plans to limit helpdesks to just five stations in the county, including Crewe.

And smaller stations like Nantwich, Winsford and Congleton with a “contact point telephone” on the side of the station to use.

The force says the changes come after a six-week consultation on change to how it uses its resources.

Police chiefs say most people prefer the convenience of reporting incidents through the non-emergency 101 phone number or via the website.

Resources are being moved from soon to be closed helpdesk to bolster numbers in the Force Control Centre, which handles 101 calls and online submissions.

Facilities at five helpdesks will remain open as normal at Crewe, Blacon, Macclesfield, Warrington and Widnes.

Opening hours for these will be 8am-5pm, Monday to Saturday.

Northwich will provide a virtual helpdesk function with a video call facility.

Residents using stations in Nantwich, Chester Town Hall, Congleton, Ellesmere Port, Knutsford, Penketh, Runcorn, Stockton Heath, Winsford and Wilmslow will be diverted to the remaining helpdesks if they require a face-to-face service.

Each of these smaller sites will also hold weekly neighbourhood policing team surgeries so local officers can be seen directly by the public.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Dutton, Head of Local Policing and Operations, said: “Helpdesks have played an important role in policing, and we know that for many people they have been an important interface between ourselves and the public.

“However, how people want to contact us has changed over the years and, with advancements in technology allowing us greater choice and convenience, it’s little wonder that the public much prefer to speak to us via their mobile phones or landlines or contact us through our website.

“Over the last couple of years we have seen an increased volume of calls to us and we are unable to answer them as quickly as I would like.

“These changes will allow us to improve these methods of contact, allowing us to answer phones and deploy officers more quickly than before – helping us to achieve our aim of providing the best police service in the country.

“It’s important to stress that we are not closing police stations as we have seen in other areas of the country, and police officers and our PCSOs will remain very much in the heart of our communities – those who would still prefer face to face contact have the option of attending one of our weekly PCSO surgeries.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer said: “Improving public contact with the police is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan, and people consistently tell me that they want the police to use resources more efficiently and be more contactable via 101.

“These changes to helpdesks will allow us to invest even more in our force control room and phone operators.

“Previous investment has already brought 101 waiting times down and an improvement in 999 answer times, so we know this approach works and delivers what people expect.

“I know from my 30-year career as a police officer about the value of face-to-face contact.

“In that time, I also saw a huge change in how people wanted to interact with their police service.

“Ensuring weekly PCSO surgeries will enable us to maintain valuable face to face contact while also improving all the other ways in which people contact the police.”

2 Comments

  1. Mike Talbot says:

    The surgeries held locally are not really helpful I find calling 101 is hopeless
    Far better to have police out of their offices and being visible even if it means just using their cars as an office
    I find email is far better

  2. John Crump says:

    For how times you see the police it won’t matter

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