IT’S business as usual at Broughton Police station.
This is the message from Preston’s rural north policing team who man the station, which has been given a reprieve from closure.
Police bosses decided not to sell the buildings, which would have meant the demise of the rural beat team’s base and the front counter service manned by volunteers, following the recent countywide consultation.
PC Chris Banks - the only full time community beat officer left for rural north - which spans more than 100 square miles - and his two police community support officers Gemma Duxbury and David Reid, together with the eight volunteers, are delighted the station has been saved.
“This is the best news we could have asked for. Local people and ourselves will not have to travel to Preston and we remain based in the community. We have been very lucky,” said PC Banks.
He says it is “business as usual” and the team is determined to provide a service as close as possible to what it was prior to the retirement of Broughton PC John McCartney and Grimsargh PC Ian Zanelli, who was moved elsewhere.
Also, as the rural situation will be reviewed once the housing development at Whittingham takes shape, the Broughton team know they must do as much as they can and not become complacent.
An added bonus is there will now be an aligned officer on every response team working out of the operation centre at Preston, who knows the rural area. This will be particularly useful for when PC Banks and the two PCSOs are not on duty.
“The issue for people out here now is that Fulwood station is closing, Garstang is closing, Longridge is closing and we are very fortunate Broughton is staying open. The residents around here aren’t losing their personal touch,” said PC Banks.
Backed by the volunteers - who man the station from 9am-7pm Monday-Friday and who, with the help of more hands, would like to open at weekends - the officers plan to keep up their personal contact with the area’s 10 schools. They will continue to run various Neighbourhood Watch and PACT meetings as well as the successful Farm and Neighbourhood Watch alert systems and Broughton’s ‘no cold callers’ scheme.
They will also be composing and delivering over 2000 newsletters; attending parish council and residents’ committees etc whenever possible and looking at new initiatives.
The volunteers will continue to man the front counter, answering calls, taking messages, listening to the answering machine, booking in lost and found property, etc. Two of the volunteers are trained to use the police national computer. But as they to not have the authority to check documents, they can make appointments for residents with PC Banks to do this.
The team will continue to use the office at Goosnargh Village Hall and PC Banks would like to set up a volunteer system there too, to enable it to open more often.
“We are determined to keep what we have done in the past going and hopefully people won’t see any change.
“We look forward to working with everyone in further ventures.”