NEW opening hours for the borough's police general enquiry offices come into force from today (Monday, April 15).

Merseyside Police say the change follows an extensive review of the service, which found that frontline officers were frequently having to come off the streets to provide cover to keep offices open to the public.

It was also found the number of people visiting offices across Merseyside has significantly reduced in recent years, with on average, one person per hour attending offices.

St Helens Star:

St Helens police station on College Street

A decision was made in February to change the opening hours while the force sought to recruit additional staff.

The new staff have now been recruited and from Monday, April 15 new opening hours for offices across Merseyside are in place.

These are:

St Helens, Birkenhead, St Anne Street, Southport, and Huyton will be open between 10am and 6pm Monday to Saturday

Newton-le-Willows, Wallasey, Marsh Lane, Admiral Street, Walton Lane, Speke, Kirkby will be open between 10am and 6pm Monday to Friday

St Helens Star:

Newton-le-Willows police station

The force says the public will have access to Community Police Stations that have been introduced across Merseyside to provide an additional service in our local communities.

In St Helens these will be at:

  • Greenbase, Helena West, Queensland Place from 1pm to 2pm and 9am to10am Monday and Thursday
  • Rainford Village Hall, Church Road from 1pm to 2pm on Friday
  • Eccleston Box, Burrows Lane; Billinge and Sutton - opening soon

There is also one at: Prescot Community Fire and Police Station, Cables Way from 10am midday on a Monday.

Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, said: “The GEO service is only one way in which the public can contact us, we have community police stations across Merseyside and at the start of last year we introduced a dedicated social media desk in our call centre giving the public the ability to contact us online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to report non-emergency incidents, or to ask for advice. In the last 14 months the desk has dealt with an average of 2500 contacts every month.

“The review we have conducted on the GEOs has shown that the number of people visiting the offices has declined year on year and people just aren’t using them like they used to, preferring to contact us via other means. We clearly need to consider this as we continue to look at how we best engage with our communities in the most efficient and effective way.

“It’s really important for us to get the right offer for our local communities and that needs to balance their needs with the demand we see for services. We can then put our resources in the right places. Quite often people believe that when a general enquiry office is closed the police station is no longer operational. This is not the case.

“We will continue to review how our communities can contact us to ensure that we can provide an offer that meets their needs and ensures the most effective use of force resources.

“Any decisions we make will not be made lightly, but it must be remembered that since 2010 the force has lost £110m and more than 1600 officers and staff due to funding cuts. We have already made a lot of hard decisions, but the impact of these cuts is continuing and the decisions we are having to make are getting harder. But I can assure the people of Merseyside that our duty to protect the public remains our primary aim and we will continue to deliver the best possible service we physically can with the budget and the resources we have.”

  • Alternative ways to contact Merseyside Police include, on Facebook via Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Twitter @MerPolCC. Calls to 101 cost 15p per call from landlines and mobiles. Or Typetalk on 18001 101 (service provided by Action on Hearing Loss for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)