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Police front desks close across the West Midlands - See how your station will be affected

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Twenty-seven police stations are to close their front counters over the next year in an effort to save £3m.

Just ten will remain open, and only one of those will be open 24/7.

Today, police chiefs defended the move, and said there was 'little demand' from the public for front desk services during the evening and overnight.

They said there would be no change to the level of policing that people were getting. Staff affected by the closures will be redeployed where possible as the changes come ion throughout next year.

The force said a 12-month review carried out by an independent research company had quizzed 7,000 people.

Visitor levels to 41 front offices were measured against the cost of staffing the front offices.

A force spokesman said: "The review found that the public rarely visit front counters, with some having as few as one visitor per day. When asked their preferred method of contacting the police, front offices did not feature in the top three choices ? the majority preferred more modern ways of contacting the police."

Key: Current opening hours>future opening hours

Dudley

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Brierley Hill 24 hours> 8am – 10pm

Halesowen Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

Stourbridge Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

Dudley Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

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Sedgley Mon-Fri: 9:30am – 3:30pm> Open as a Contact Point - unchanged, volunteer run

Sandwell

Smethwick 24 hours> Closed to public

West Bromwich 24 hours> 8am – 10pm

Tipton Mon, Tues, Wed-Fri: 10am – 2pm, Thur: 2pm – 6pm >Closed to public

Wednesbury Mon-Fri: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

Old Hill Mon-Fri: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

Walsall

Walsall 24 hours> Closed to public

Bloxwich Mon-Sun: 8am – 10pm> 8am – 10pm

Aldridge Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm> Closed to public

Willenhall Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm>Closed to public

Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton 24 hours>8am – 10pm

Wednesfield Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm>Closed to public

Bilston Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm>Closed to public

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said: "The force's 41 front desks reflect an era where if you wanted to contact the police you had a choice between a landline or visiting a police station in person. That world has changed, and the police must catch up too.

"Ninety five per cent of people have mobile phones now, and can contact the police from anywhere. Research shows that very few people are visiting front desks and prefer to phone the police or use the internet rather than go to a police station.

"The current service doesn't meet people's preferences and is becoming increasingly expensive as fewer and fewer people use it. We need to deploy staff to call centres where possible to free up resources that keep police officers where people want them: on the street, preventing crime and catching criminals."

Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: "The decision to close front offices has not been taken lightly and followed a year-long review speaking to our communities to gain a detailed understanding of the service we provide and thoroughly analysing footfall.

"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 and be very much a part of their local community.

"Like all other forces, we have to continue to reduce spending and ensure taxpayers' money is spent on the services which matter to them most. We need to ensure we offer a service that is relevant to people in their daily lives."

Dudley North MP Ian Austin today launched a petition and said the move would mean Dudley would be the largest town in the country without a police station open to the public.

The research that has led to the moves was conducted by BMG Research. It showed 92 per cent of people would prefer to contact the police by telephone.

Only eight per cent of those surveyed had visited a police front office in the last 12 months. Half were required by the police to attend a front office and half attended by choice.

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