SO a police station – one serving a fairly large community – is to have its enquiry desk’s opening hours drastically reduced.

That’s quite a big decision for Merseyside Police to make.

Surely it means there will have been discussions with community leaders and councillors, maybe even some form of public consultation?

And when the decision is announced, you would expect a formal statement, notice or even a press release would be issued?

But, no, that was not the case with the decision to scale back Newton-le-Willows’ station to a one-day operation for public enquiries.

Instead the information was sneaked out on a police social media account on Monday morning.

The decision, and the way it has been communicated, is disappointing and it is no surprise councillors in the Newton-le-Willows ward and leading political figures across St Helens are furious.

Of course, it is a hugely challenging time for Merseyside Police. The Star has reported repeatedly on the funding pressures they are facing and understands the force has to modernise, using other means of communication such as social media and email – to deal with the public’s enquiries.

But severely reducing the public’s opportunities to have direct contact in their neighbourhood with an officer is troubling and there should have been open discussion and debate surrounding this.

Councillors have rightly been outspoken on the issue, fearing confidence in the police has been eroded.

Their strong words are welcome – in fact the public deserve to see more of this.

It is their belief that the police presence across the St Helens borough has been eroded too much – certainly in comparison to other parts of Merseyside – during the last few years. 

St Helens Star:

Well done to Tyler Turner (above) on his commendation for bravery from Liverpool Crown Court’s most senior judge. (see story here).

He’s just one of many individual success stories highlighted in this week’s Star.

It is something we will continue to do, with the aim of creating a greater spirit of belief and ambition among all St Helens’ young people.