PLANS to close Coventry city centre’s police station to the public are being fought by a city MP.
Coventry North west Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson has called for debate in Parliament over West Midlands Police’s plans to shut front office counters at police stations throughout the county.
He is particularly concerned about the closure to the public of the city’s Little Park Street police station, at a time when the Labour council is looking to concentrate services is a regenerated Coventry city centre.
It comes amid reports the refurbishment of West Midlands Police’s Birmingham HQ in Colmore Circus is costing £33 million.
The force’s Strategic Police and Crime Board was told that all 1,000 staff members who are based at Lloyd House have now left the building.
Final costs have also been worked though for the Colmore Circus project, which is on course to use up a £33 million budget.
Mr Robinson said: “People in my constituency will have to travel to Willenhall police station, the other side of the city, to speak with a police officer.
“What will be lost is the face-to-face contact, which further diminishes the service. Government cuts have already resulted in the number of police officers being reduced.
“There’s much concern that the city centre service will be lost, when the council has a ‘city centre first’ approach to delivering services in future.
“The police should look again at a city centre location.”
The counter at Little Park Street station is set to close within 12 months, as would Foleshill police station’s front office serving the public in Stoney Stanton Road.
Only Chace Avenue police station in Willenhall would stay open, which has more visitors, although Little Park Street is well used and is open around the clock.
West Midlands crime commissioner David Jamieson has suggested a city centre police counter could re-open in the “medium to long term”, but there were no current plans.
Assistant chief constable Carl Foulkes said: “The relationship between the public and West Midlands Police is changing and research has shown that the vast majority of the public prefer to contact us by telephone.
“Keeping people safe is the focus of our officers and staff and this is an opportunity to deliver a more consistent, professional service, which may enable more officers to be deployed where and when they are needed the most in our communities.”