Closure dates set for West Midlands police station front desks
The final phase of front office closures at police stations across the West Midlands will take place at the end of this month.
The changes are being brought in as West Midlands Police looks to save £3 million a year.
The front desk of Dudley police station will close, officials have confirmed – despite a campaign to keep it open.
More than 2,200 signed a petition calling on plans for the controversial closure to be scrapped.
Bilston Police Station's front office will be closed to the public from May 31.
Meanwhile, Wolverhampton's main city centre police station will no longer be open 24 hours a day from June 1.
The Wolverhampton station, in Bilston Street opposite the main tram stop, will just be open between 8am and 10pm.
Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: "The simple fact is front offices are hugely underused and cost the taxpayer millions each year to keep open. Nothing will change to the local delivery of policing – local neighbourhood teams will continue to patrol."
The front desk at Smethwick police station will shut in June.
The Piddock Road station will be the last of 27 across the region to shut its front office, with a date now fixed for June 16.
Counters at Tipton, Old Hill and Wednesbury closed in February.
West Bromwich Police Station will remain open.
The final closures taking place on May 31 include Walsall Police Station, although the front office will remain open temporarily while Bloxwich Police Station undergoes a refurbishment.
An announcement was made confirming the closure of 27 front offices across the force area. A total of 17 closed earlier this year, but 10 front counters will remain open.
Dudley North MP Ian Austin, who had led the campaign to keep the front desk open, said he would continue to fight to reverse the decision despite the closure being confirmed.
Mr Austin said the closure means Dudley will become the largest town in the country without a police station that is open to the public. The petition was delivered to Parliament in March but failed to have any bearing on the decision.
Mr Austin said: "Over 2,200 local people have backed my campaign to keep the station open and will share my disappointment. I'm determined to keep fighting for the station so I will keep campaigning, raise local people's concerns in Parliament and meet with the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner to keep Dudley from becoming the largest town in the country without a police station open to the public."
"We all know savings have to be made, but these closures and the loss of thousands of officers are a result of the government's decision to give the West Midlands the deepest cuts to policing in the country.
"Local people want more police on the streets, more offenders brought before court and more criminals put in jail, so I will keep fighting for the West Midlands to get a fairer share of police funding."
West Midlands Police announced in November that Dudley would be one of 27 police stations across the region to have their front offices closed to the public within 12 months as part of cost-cutting measures.
The front desks at Wednesbury, Tipton, Stourbridge and Halesowen have already been closed to the public and Dudley's will close for the final time on May 31.
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