POLICE station counters in Malvern, Droitwich and Stourport are to close after a drop in public demand. Visitors will now have to rely on an intercom instead to report crimes, missing persons and traffic accidents.
The three towns are among a group of 21 public service counters at police stations across West Mercia which will close on September 1.
Visitors will be connected to a police call taker 24/7 via telephone intercom instead.
Malvern's counter had been open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (10am to 6pm), 12pm to 8pm on Thursdays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. But figures show only 10 people visit the front counter in Malvern per day on average and 14 per day at Droitwich and only 3.5 at Stourport compared to 27.57 people in Worcester and 30.14 at Hereford.
Worcester and Hereford counters will be unaffected by the changes, remaining open 8am to 8pm six days a week and 10am to 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
West Mercia Police say the changes are about introducing a more modern and effective way of operating its public counter services.
At locations where front counters are being replaced, local Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be increasing their visibility and accessibility to offer support, reassurance and advice through increased patrols, drop in surgeries, community meetings and forums, and meetings with police officers or staff by appointment as well as via email and Twitter.
Reduced demand has provided an opportunity to review how West Mercia Police delivers front counter services while they seek to make £30.3 million as part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: "The police must be accessible to people. I am keen to explore how we can continue to do this in a way that suits the different communities we have in West Mercia, whilst making the most of the resources we have."
Public counter services include bail signing, examination of driving documents, receipt of found property and allow foreign nationals to register with the police. Other functions such as reporting crimes or requesting information do not have to be done at a police station and can be done remotely, to a police officer, by phone or in some cases electronically.
Chief Superintendent Amanda Blakeman, who has led the review into public contact and front counter provision said: “The public access our services in many ways, but we have seen the number of people calling at public counters drop in recent years."
There are a range of methods for public contact including calling 101, the introduction of 24/7 contact points at stations to connect callers to the police, 115 Safer Neighbourhood Teams each with a dedicated email address and Twitter account, monthly community meetings and drop in surgeries.