POLICE were asked to defend £2m worth of cuts at a specially arranged council meeting.
Chief Supt Andy Battle appeared before Wakefield Council’s Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday, to defend district-wide plans to slash police station opening hours.
The proposals - which could see the closure of South Kirkby’s front desk - were first announced back in May.
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett and local councillors helped launch a campaign to prevent the closure from going ahead, landing thousands of petition signatures in the process.
Councillors were shown a report which stated that eight out of ten people surveyed in West Yorkshire had not visited a front desk in the last 12 months.
The report also stated that increased technology had led to people being less inclined to visit police desks in person like they used to.
South Kirkby Police Station - which is currently open 8am-6pm, Monday to Saturday - will no longer be available for people visiting with enquiries, and will become a ‘contact point’, with enquiries dealt with on a surgery-like basis.
And stations in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford will suffer reduced opening times.
Chief Supt Int Battle told councillors: “This almost feels intuitively wrong, but when you look at the facts and figures it supports these new opening hours.
“These are not easy decisions but we’ve had a long, hard look at the facts and figures.”
Although no final decisions have yet been made, the plans - which face a final public consultation process - look likely to go ahead.
Chief Supt Int Battle said: “The size and scale of the cuts requires us to make savings across the region