PROPOSALS to close many police station front counters in Dorset have been delayed.

Bridport police station’s front office is one under threat, but police chiefs now say no changes are anticipated until at least September 2015.

The decision to delay implementation of the proposals – which include the withdrawal of some station desk offices and reduced opening times at other locations – has been made following consultation with local communities.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “When the force and I asked the public to provide feedback, we made a commitment that we would carefully consider the views we received.

“From the wide range of alternative suggestions and the strength of feeling that we have encountered, it is clear that the force and I need more time to take on board the information we have received.

“There is more work to be done before final decisions can be made and it’s important that this work isn’t hurried.”

The initial review of station desk enquiry offices had identified that they were an expensive and under-utilised resource. Figures show that one enquiry office in Dorset welcomed an average of just 5.2 visitors per day in 2012, despite being open seven hours a day, five days a week. At some stations only a small proportion of visits related to policing matters.

The proposals could save the force in the region of £500,000 – the equivalent of ten front line officers or 17 Police Community Support Officers.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “I can reassure members of the public that no final decisions have been made regarding station desk office provision in Dorset.

“We are aware that one single approach may not suit all parts of the county and different solutions may be required in different areas. As this detail becomes clear, there will be further opportunities for communities to provide the Force and the PCC with their views and ideas for alternative ways to contact Dorset Police."