I wanted to take this opportunity to brief you on developments regarding our estates portfolio and proposed changes to the opening hours of some front offices as part of an ongoing commitment to modernise the force.
The force is committed to maintaining officers in neighbourhood roles and to maintaining accessible public enquiry offices. We are also determined that they should be located at the very heart of the communities they serve. However, for reasons already outlined, we are exploring new ways of running front offices and working with our partners to share buildings, reduce costs and make services more joined up.
The estates review has found that some of our buildings are no longer suitable or fit for purpose – many are either too expensive to maintain or are in the wrong location to provide the best service to our communities. None of the buildings being considered are open to the public and the cost of running them could be better spent on front line policing.
The review of front offices found that public demand is very low in the evenings and overnight and recommended that staff be redeployed back into contact centres to increase the efficiency of call handling. As a result of the review, in January next year we are proposing changes to the opening times of 12 front offices, nine of which are currently open 24/7, with three open between 7am-10pm. Over the next 12 months we are also proposing to cease working from some buildings across the force.
The opening hours in our area is as follows: Wednesfield, Wolverhampton 24/7 10.00am to 18.00pm
Under the proposals, 11 front offices will remain open 24/7, 21 will open between 10am-6pm, one will be open 8am-8pm daily and a further 22 will remain open to the public at other times, dependent on local needs.
In total, West Midlands Police will continue to provide 65 front offices open to the public; a service to local communities far wider than most other police forces offer across the country. Under the new arrangements, the households will never be more than four miles from a 24/7 police station across the region.