Crime panel `kept in the dark by police'

A group set up to help combat crime has accused police of keeping it in the dark over plans to close station front offices across the region.

A group set up to help combat crime has accused police of keeping it in the dark over plans to close station front offices across the region.

Alnwick and District Community Safety Partnership, which works with Northumbria Police to tackle disorder in its area, says it was not asked for its views on current proposals before they were announced last month.

Police are planning to close front offices at 11 stations across the force area, including Rothbury and Seahouses in Alnwick district and nearby Wooler.

At Amble, the station is proposed to be reduced to occasional opening on a seasonal basis, on market days and special events. But the partnership says it was not given the chance to influence the plans before they were published, despite its links with the police. Coun Robert Arckless, chairman of the partnership and councillor for Amble, said: "I was not happy. I just feel that the only consultation there appeared to have been was with the police authority equivalent of the citizens' panel.

"I am worried about the way this has been handled. We have grave concerns over the effect of the closures in its area."

Deputy Chief Constable David Warcup insisted there is "absolutely no intention to reduce the overall level of policing" where front offices are closing and insisted the plans are not about saving money.

It is understood the impact of the changes is to be monitored by the police authority over the next six months.

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