Call centres to shut in new cuts

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Five police contact centres – the first point of contact for calls from the public – will be shut down and replaced with a single ‘hub’.

Lancashire Police currently operates six call centres across the county at police stations in Preston, Hutton, Blackpool, Blackburn, Burnley and Lancaster.

But as part of a final push to meet Government cuts, the centres will be shut and move to a single facility at Hutton, to which all public calls to the police will be directed.

The move is part of plans to save £43m imposed by the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques said the move would save “millions” of pounds and would be introduced over the next 12 months.

But he also moved to allay fears the move would mean that callers ringing police from other areas of the county would not have the benefit of contact centre staff with local knowledge.

He said: “Ultimately there will be one (centre) that is based in Hutton.

“The people will be coming, it is the same people with the same information. Whether they are sat in a room in Burnley or sat in a room in Hutton should not affect the service.

“In fact, what it should do is allow us to deliver it for a lot less money and make the service better.”

There are currently 315 posts across the six centres and 35 team leaders. This will reduce to 295 posts and 26 team leaders, although the force expects everyone to be able to claim a job at the new centre.

Asked about possible redundancies as part of the plan, ACC Jacques said: “We still use some agency staff in there because we have seasonal ebbs and flows and there is enough turnover for us to achieve whatever we need to achieve.”

The Evening Post reported earlier this year how the force had found most of its overall savings targets.

The contact centre move will be part of that final tranche of cuts. Around 60 seperate reviews of the force have been carried out to try and identify the cuts.

Recent changes also include some departments being merged to save money.

ACC Jacques added: “We have had a number of changes and merged a number of departments and portfolios. We had 10 posts of senior police staff which were a certain grade and that has been reduced to three or four.”