COST savings at Cleveland Police have seen drastic changes to opening times at three of its four district offices.

A three month-long review of visits to Hartlepool, Stockton and Redcar Kirkleatham police stations showed that only one or two visits between 10.00pm and 8.00am each day.

About five visits were made to the Middlesbrough office but these were chiefly to access the centralised custody suit, according to the report put forward to Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who has supported the plans.

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As a result of the proposals, the three stations will be open daily between 8am and 10pm, with the provision of video contact facilities after 10pm. Middlesbrough will remain a 24hr face to face service.

Mr Coppinger said: “As part of a review of the police estate, these proposals have been made, which I have scrutinised and fully support.

“Times are changing - most people now prefer to contact the police by phone and very rarely will they walk to a police office, therefore we need to provide a better front desk service that matches public demand.”

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said officers will still be based at the stations but without a front reception between 10pm and 8am.

He said: “Operational policing will continue from each of the four stations without any changes and members of the public can attend at any time to meet with a police officer by appointment.

“But we need to take account of the way the public expect to engage with us. With advances in technology and particularly the increase in the use of social media by the public, we need to ensure that the way we communicate with our communities is the most effective possible.”

Video telephones will be installed at the entrances to the three stations for use when the front desks are not staffed, which will link directly to Middlesbrough front desk.