Battle to save police desk

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett and local councillors are launching a petition against the possible closure of the front counter at South Kirkby police station'left - right, Shaun Hodson, Sandra Pickin, Laurie Harrison, Michelle Collins, Jon Tricket, Jean Askew, Martyn Ward, Allan Garbutt
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett and local councillors are launching a petition against the possible closure of the front counter at South Kirkby police station'left - right, Shaun Hodson, Sandra Pickin, Laurie Harrison, Michelle Collins, Jon Tricket, Jean Askew, Martyn Ward, Allan Garbutt

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to fight controversial plans to close the front desk at South Kirkby Police Station.

West Yorkshire Police hope to save £2m by closing front desks across the district as part of an ongoing spending review.

If implemented, the changes, which are subject to public consultation, could see the front desk at South Kirkby closed with a community contact point created instead.

Outraged Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett has joined local councillors to fight to keep the vital service - and has already started collecting signatures on a petition.

Mr Trickett said: “We are going to fight to keep it open. We have no quarrel with the local police, they do a great job. It’s a move from above and we think it’s still an important facility for the area that needs to stay open.”

The move follows earlier consultation with people across the county, which found overnight demand for the service to be very low.

It also found that eight out of ten people surveyed said they hadn’t visited an enquiry counter in the past year.

The surveys began in January, but campaigners only became aware of the threat to the South Kirkby station last week.

And this final stage of the consultation will end on in just over a week on Sunday, June 10.

Mr Trickett said: “I am outraged that we only have this short period of time to launch the petition - it isn’t enough time to get enough public opinion.”

Under the plans a desk at Wakefield would be open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 10pm, and in Pontefract and Castleford Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.

Coun Sandra Pickin said: “We know that police have to make some cuts but we just don’t believe in stopping the service at our station. If they stop this vital service people are going to have to travel all the way into Pontefract or Castleford.”

Inspector Geoff Carter, of the South East NPT based at South Kirkby, has assured the community that the change will not reduce their level of service.

He said: “If the worse should happen and the desk does close, this will not effect the level of service the NPT gives to the area.

“My team’s core business is not about being sat in the station, it’s about being out there working on the steets with the community.”

Chief superintendent Marc Callaghan, Wakefield District Police divisional commander, said: “We appreciate there are still times when people want to come into a police station and we hope that these plans would enable us to best manage.”

To sign a petition contact the councillors or Mr Trickett, or write to police direct with your views.