Hundreds fight police front desk closure

Petition against the possible closure of the police station in South Kirkby.'h316a225
Petition against the possible closure of the police station in South Kirkby.'h316a225

A PETITION against the closure of the front desk at South Kirkby Police Station has gained more than 1,000 signatures.

A campaign was launched after West Yorkshire Police announced plans which could see the desk close as part of £2m of spending cuts.

If implemented, the changes, which were subject to public consultation which has just ended, could see a community contact point created instead.

Local councillors and Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett have been out in force with the petition since the announcement three weeks ago, and will be handing over the signatures to police today.

Outraged Hemsworth resident Derek Jones, who signed the petition, said: “There’s been enough cut backs, where else are we meant to go to speak to police? It’s just cut backs, cut backs, cut backs - it’s terrible.”

If the plans go ahead people living in the Express area will have to travel to Wakefield, Pontefract or Castleford to speak to police. The 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.

Campaign supporter Mary Botham, from Hemsworth, said: “They just keep taking things further and further away from us.

“It will be ridiculous if we have to travel out to Wakefield - not everybody has a car and you can’t always rely on public transport”

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.

Coun Sandra Pickin said: “We’ve had a great response to the petition, which just proves that peole are interested in keeping this service open. Even if it’s only a limited number of hours, five days a week, it’s better than nothing. People shouldn’t have to travel all the way into Pontefract or Castleford to get this vital service.”