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Police presence in Lichfield City Centre to be reduced

March 13, 2019 11:40 AM

Paul Ray

Lib Dem Councillor Paul Ray has responded to the announcement that Staffs Police are to further reduce the police service in the city by closing the desk in the Lichfield District Council offices.

Paul Ray said,"We can be thankful that knife crime is not a major problem in the Lichfield area and that we are spared many of the horrors that seem to afflict our larger cities. Even so, a police presence is a necessity in our community, but it seems that the Conservative government's cuts in policing will deprive Lichfield residents of a vital service.

"The closure of the Police station on Frog lane and the move to the police forensics HQ on Eastern Avenue has already deprived Lichfield of a city-centre police presence. But even at the new HQ, there is currently no front desk at which the public can directly address their concerns to a police officer and there are no future plans to provide one. Instead, the help desk in the Lichfield District Council offices is now to be closed, and a "help point" providing a remote connection to a police desk at Cannock, Burton, or Stoke will be substituted."

A spokesperson for the police claims that the closure is due to a decrease in footfall, with online and telephone contact from the public taking its place, as access to police services via these channels is constantly being improved and made easier.

But Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ray added "This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs for Lichfield residents. While we welcome all the police initiatives to facilitate remote access, the human touch should continue as an essential part of the police's role in the community. And this decision does not take into account the fact that Lichfield has a high elderly population and not all are familiar with using online technology.

"If a woman is a victim of a sexual assault, or an elderly person wishes to report a crime, for example, a help point is not going to supply the necessary emotional support provided by a human presence. This is one more example of the way that the Conservative Westminster government's cuts to vital services in the regions are affecting our lives.

"There are local elections on 2 May and I urge residents to vote Lib Dem and to use their vote to tell the Conservatives exactly how they feel about decisions like this. It's just another unacceptable example of the deterioration in our public services."

Ray, will be raising this issue with a representative of the police early next month at a Lichfield City Council meeting to examine the situation in more detail, with a view to re-evaluating the decision.