Police station opening hours slashed across Sunderland

The police office in Waterloo Place
The police office in Waterloo Place
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The number of police offices open round the clock across Wearside is to be slashed from three to just one.

At present, Southwick and Washington stations and the walk-in office in Waterloo Place in Sunderland city centre are all open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chief Constable Steve Ashman

Chief Constable Steve Ashman

Under new changes, only Waterloo Place will be open around the clock. Southwick will be open between 8am and 8pm seven days a week and Washington from 9am to 5pm, five days a week.

Houghton Police Station and the police office at North Moor Fire Station are open from nine to five, five days a week. In future, these hours will be cut to 10am-2pm.

The changes will cut 252 hours a week across the four affected offices.

Northumbria Police chief constable Steve Ashman said: "We are still wrestling with the impact of austerity and the cuts that we have faced in Northumbria are the largest of any force in the country.

Southwick Police Station

Southwick Police Station

"This has meant that we have to make difficult decisions whilst striving to deliver the best possible service to our communities. We know that the public want to see police officers on the street and we are changing the way we work in order to protect this.

"We also know that residents don’t want to have to go to a police station in order to report information; but rather report it in their own home and at a time that is convenient for them.

"We always strive to provide an outstanding service to everyone in our communities and this investment into online and social communication will enable us to continue to do that."

Julie Elliott, whose Sunderland Central constituency covers both Southwick and Waterloo Place offices, said: "I am pleased that the walk-in shop in the city centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so people have an easily accessible place to go to.

Houghton Police Station

Houghton Police Station

"The other closures are inevitably the result of budget cuts. It is always more important to keep as many police officers on the street as possible."

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said: "It was inevitable that the constant cuts to our police force by the Government over the last seven years would start to have a visible impact on the service that the public rightly expect to see.

"However, I have been in communication with Northumbria Police regarding these changes and have been greatly reassured that frontline policing will not be affected or compromised and as always, the safety of the public is of utmost priority to our local constabulary."

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: "Northumbria Police have lost the largest amount of funding in the whole country in recent years and this is an example of the difficult choices they are being forced to make.

Julie Elliott

Julie Elliott

"The opening hours of the front offices of the two local police stations in my constituency will be reduced from between 9am and 5pm to between 10am and 2pm. The decision has been made based on the analysis of the pattern of footfall at these front offices.

"I have been assured by the Chief Constable, Steve Ashman that these changes will not affect the availability of police officers.

"I have long campaigned to protect police funding but our community policing teams have been told time and again by government ministers to do more with less.

"More cuts are clearly not sustainable in the long term. That’s why I urge government ministers to think again and give the police the fair funding they need to protect our local communities."

Washington Police Station

Washington Police Station

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP

Bridget Phillipson

Bridget Phillipson