Fight lost as police front desk to close

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and Coun. Ken Hind outside Clitheroe Police Station
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans and Coun. Ken Hind outside Clitheroe Police Station
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Clitheroe will lose its police station front desk at the end of this month despite efforts to keep it open.

The closure – on March 29th – will leave Valley residents having to travel to Burnley or Accrington police stations to seek face-to-face help.

Colne Police Station’s front counter will also close on the same day, while Barnoldswick front desk shut it doors to the public in January.

Since the announcement that the police desk based in King Street was under threat, officials at Ribble Valley Borough Council have fought to keep the service open, offering to combine the council’s CCTV system with a police front desk system.

In addition, Giles Bridge, chair of the Ribble Valley Labour Party’s campaign forum, presented a petition signed by hundreds of concerned residents to Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, against the closure.

The move has been slammed by Mr Bridge, who said: “Government cuts to the funding received by local authorities and the police are really starting to affect the provision of local services.

“Groups such as the elderly or those on low incomes are most likely to be affected by these cuts which limit access to essential services.

“The proposed closure of Clitheroe Interchange is another example.

“We will be campaigning on this issue and hope to unite with the other political parties and community groups to defend Clitheroe Interchange.”

In a statement Mr Grunshaw said: “The way areas are policed will not change in any way, officers will still be based at local police stations and work in these communities. As the Constabulary manages the continuing cuts to its funding by Government, we have to look at how the public want to report crimes and make sure that service receives the investment it needs.”

Conservative councillor Paul Elms, deputy leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, is upset with the decision.

He said: “It’s another community asset disappearing. We remain extremely concerned about the level of rural policing.”

Leader of the council, Ken Hind, added: “The response time for police called to incidents in Longridge, Whalley and Clitheroe, is still too slow.

“The Ribble Valley deserves better from its elected commissioner and some of the increase in the council tax should be used to keep the front desk at Clitheroe police station open.

“We are left in the sad situation that we must wait for the next election of a police and crime commissioner to press for a change of policy.”