Labour’s Crime Commissioner candidate has criticised the closure of the front desk at Chasetown’s police station.
The High Street facility was shut to the public as part of a review last year.
But George Adamson, who hopes to prevent Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis from retaining the post, said the move showed local communities were being forgotten.
“Chasetown Police Station was closed to the public last year yet no new police post has been set up as was promised at the time,” he said. “Instead, the current Police and Crime Commissioner is planning a new ‘hub’ in Lichfield at considerable expense.
“My priority is to reflect what the public want: visible and accessible local policing in our local communities.”
But Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis insists that police visibility has been improved, adding that he would rather see bobbies on the beat rather than tied up in stations
“People rightly want to see more visible policing and that is now starting to happen,” he said.
“It’s early days, but the new mobile technology all officers now have means for the first time ever they can get the information and police systems they need standing in the street instead of endlessly heading back to base, out of sight. It’s on track to free up an extra 250,000 hours of visible community policing by later this year just by getting officers back into communities, not stuck at a desk.
“The Chasetown inquiry desk often has weeks where nobody at all goes in and the new police post at the fire station will also have direct access for the public to the police through a new contact point.”
The initial closure drew criticism from across the political divide.
Cllr Sharon Banevicius, Labour representative for Chasetown ward, said the town was being forgotten about by the Conservatives.
“Having the police station open to the public was a real asset to Chasetown High Street,” she said. “The current PCC talks about partnerships but has failed to support the town’s priorities of improving retail areas and bringing services to Burntwood as a whole rather than taking them away.
Even Tory councillors were disappointed by the closure but seem to have done very little about it.”
But Mr Ellis said his track record shows that he is capable of delivering a “modern” police force.
“The reason why neighbourhood and response policing numbers are up 1% in Staffordshire but down an average of 17% in areas with a Labour Police and Crime Commissioenr is because I’m prioritising maintaining officer numbers, spending precious budget more effectively and preparing for future challenges.
“It’s about the use of modern technology to get more day-to-day policing, but also preparing Staffordshire Police and other agencies for a changing society and changing crime in an internet-enabled world.