POLICE will have to hop on buses to go out on the beat in Rossendale, it has emerged.

Councillors have written to Lancashire’s chief constable and the Crime Commissioner to express concerns after proposals were unveiled to move all briefings to the main police base in Waterfoot.

It will mean Haslingden officers will have to travel to Waterfoot before going back to their beat on the bus.

Coun Gladys Sandiford said since Haslingden police station was decommissioned, beat officers have to travel to Waterfoot, where they do not have access to police vehicles.

However police have said the decision has been made ‘to increase our visibility within the community and engage directly with local people’.

Coun Sandiford, on behalf of the Conservative group in Haslingden, said in a letter to Chief Constable Steve Finnegan and Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw: “It is with some consternation that we learn that our police officers will in future have their briefings and debriefings at Waterfoot police station, and return there for lunch breaks.

“As they will have to travel to the beat by bus, even the most generous estimate calculates that the time devoted to the beat in Haslingden will be diminished by two hours per day per officer.

“Taking into account the upheaval in Rossendale due to roadworks this year, this could be considerably more.

“How can this be justified when there is already a reduction in personnel?

“The crime figures for December 10 to January 21 are up in Worsley Ward, and alarmingly increased in Greenfield Ward.

“The proposed reductions are most certainly not going to help matters.

“We need to keep up the morale of our local force, all of whom are very committed to their work and we would ask you to rethink your proposals.

“Can not some partnership arrangements be made with the Haslingden Fire Station?

“We the public pay for police to be seen on the streets preventing and detecting crime in Haslingden, not to stand in bus queues and ride on buses.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers from Rossendale’s Neighbourhood Policing Team are briefed at Waterfoot Police Station at the start of their shift, before travelling to their relevant ward areas.

“Some officers use police vehicles to travel, however some use public transport in order to increase our visibility within the community and engage with local people.”