by Janet Harrison
North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan is to accept recommendations from the Chief Constable for Harrogate, along with York and Scarborough, for daily opening hours to the public reduced by two hours from Monday.
A spokesman for the force said: They will remain open for 12 hours a day between 8am and 8pm. This will have no impact on the 24-hour operation of the station themselves which remains unchanged.
“Analysis by the Chief Constable has shown that, on average, fewer than four people each day visit each station between 8pm and 10pm.
“The majority of these visits are in relation to custody or for pre-arranged appointments, both of which can be met by staff and officers on duty at the station, such as custody staff, and do not require the front counter to be open.”
The change in hours are expected to result in savings of nearly £150,000 per year.
Julia Mulligan said: “With the changing nature of policing, and the way many of us now live large parts of our lives online, it is inevitably affecting how the public interact with the police.
“A lot more needs to be done to improve access to policing online.”
She added: “These changes are already having an impact on the numbers of people visiting police stations, which is getting fewer and fewer, especially in late evenings.
“Our front counter team provide an excellent service, but it does not make sense for them to be staffing the front counter when they’re rarely being used.
“I am sure taxpayers will agree that there are better ways we can use the £150,000 expected to be saved.”
North Yorkshire Police is continuing to develop the ways in which the public can get in touch to report concerns, ask questions and receive information, ensuring there are more digital means to access policing.