New opening hours at General Enquiry Offices in St Helens
Main article content
Merseyside Police is committed to giving its local communities the best possible service and to ensuring that we can provide a visible policing service within our communities.
And following the notification of changes to our General Enquiry Offices in October last year, we can now confirm that those changes will come into place tomorrow (Monday, 24 February). Details of the new opening hours can be found on the Local Policing Page for each area (Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral) on the force website https://www.merseyside.police.uk/ and Facebook pages.
The GEOs in St Helens are:
• St Helens Police Station, College Street, St Helens, WA10 1TG, which will be open between 10am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am and 6pm on Saturday
• Newton-le-Willows Police Station, Earlestown, WA12 9AW, which will open between 10am and 6pm Tuesday to Friday.
In addition there are eight Community Police Stations (CPS) at Helena Housing Greenbase, 1 Queensland Place, Thatto Heath; Helena Housing Millersdale, 2 -6 Millersdale, Clockface, WA9 4GE; Helena East, 193 Newton Road, Derbyshire Hill, WA9 2JR; Library Moss Bank, 70 Bowness Avenue, Moss Bank,WA11 7EQ; Eccleston Police Station, 562 Burrows Lane, Eccleston, WA10 5AE; Billinge Police Station, Main Street, Billinge, WN5 7HA; Sutton Police Station, Robins Lane, Sutton, WA9 3PB; Rainford Village Hall, Church Road, WA11 8HB. Officers hold regular surgeries at these locations with the public. We will also continue to work through co-location opportunities with local authorities, and other partner agencies, to maximise the joint services that we can provide.
The changes have been made following an extensive review of the service provided by the General Enquiry Offices to see if they provided the best service possible based on community needs, customer and resource demands and the changing use of technology.
The review identified that:
• Visitors to GEOs have fallen significantly with an average of only 1.2 visitors an hour. • Only 17% of all enquiries dealt with by GEO staff actually needed the customer to attend in person. • Our digital contact channels are becoming increasingly popular with 80 people an hour contacting the control room through social media, and fewer than 10% of them saying they would still have gone to a GEO if social media had not been an option. • Front line officers were frequently having to provide cover at the GEOs, at short notice, to keep them open to the public due to support staff shortages, meaning they were not policing communities
By no longer using front line officers to cover gaps in GEO services the force has re-invested approximately 25,000 hours of their time back into patrol. This roughly equates to the ability to respond quicker to 20,000 incidents over the course of a year. In monetary terms this represents a re-investment of more than half a million pounds.
Chief Superintendent Matt Boyle, said: "A great deal of work has taken place in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner, who has been expanding a programme of work to open Community Police Stations in public buildings throughout the county. Whilst these stations are not operational replacements to our General Enquiry Office service, they do offer a regular and convenient place for the public to go and speak directly with their local policing officers about issues and concerns. At present there are 21 Community Police Stations in Merseyside with three more to open shortly.”
The staff in GEOs have had additional training so that when they are not engaged with enquiries from members of the public they can carry out other functions including the completion of crime and road traffic collision reports, which in turn increases the efficiency of our overall service.
Chief Superintendent Matt Boyle, continued: "My Local Policing teams have responsibility for the provision of the GEOs and Community Police Stations and this will ensure that their core functions are aligned closely to the community.
"We have also increased our ability to offer a range of transactional services, including reporting crime, setting local policing priorities, and obtaining advice through the new force website.
“Meanwhile our social media desk (@MerpolCC), which provides a facility to DM the force in relation to incidents of crime, is continually growing in popularity and we remain one of the only forces in the country to be taking contact in this way. This revised approach reflects the changing needs and preferences of the communities we serve and offers greater choice to the people who need us."