Ministers have defended a decision to ask volunteers to staff a Birmingham police station to prevent it closing to the public entirely.
The matter was raised in the Commons a year after residents were told to staff Quinton’s front counter themselves if they wanted to keep it open.
No-one came forward to offer their services.
Birmingham MP Jack Dromey (Lab, Erdington) raised the issue in the House of Commons on Monday.
He said: “Faced with the impossible pressures generated by a 20 per cent cut to its budget, leading to 1,200 police officers going, the admirable West Midlands Police service has told the community of Quinton in Birmingham that the local police station can stay open, but only if they agree to man it.
“Is this the Home Secretary’s vision for the future: a new approach towards community policing that says to local communities, ‘Man your own police station’ – and ultimately, I presume – ‘Arrest your own criminals’?”
Liberal Democrat Minister Lynne Featherstone told him: “I understand that there is a low footfall at that police station. However, community volunteers are a very good thing for police stations, and I can inform him that crime in his area is down by seven per cent.”
West Midlands Police is to lose 620 front-line officers as a result of spending cuts, according to official inspectors.
Figures published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the official police watchdog, show that the number of police working on the front line – defined as “those in everyday contact with the public and who directly intervene to keep people safe and enforce the law” – will fall from 7,450 in March 2010 to an estimated 6,830 by March 2015.