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Consultation needed over police plans
There are two issues that need to be addressed in relation to today’s news that the police are considering big cuts to front desk opening hours at stations across the Bradford district.
One is the substance of the proposals themselves and the impact they are likely to have; the other is the manner in which these proposals have come to light.
The question of consultation – or the apparent lack of it in this case – has caused anger and consternation among politicians. The proposals seem to have been first brought to the public attention as a result of a posting on some of the Facebook pages of Neighbourhood Policing Teams around the district.
While there is certainly a role for this sort of social networking by the police, it is not the correct platform for a significant proposal like this to be announced.
It certainly could be used to source public opinion, but the proposals themselves should have been officially announced, with the Council, MPs and other relevant organisations consulted at the same time.
In terms of the effect of the closure, it is difficult to judge without seeing the figures of how much use front counters get through the night, but there are obvious concerns about what some will perceive as a cut to frontline services, no matter how strongly the police argue that is not the case.
They must put these figures out in the public domain now, so everyone can see how much or how little impact these cost-saving changes will have. And at the same time, a comprehensive public consultation through appropriate channels must get under way.