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Calls for 24-hour police station in Blackburn
Updated 6:02pm Tuesday 17th June 2014 in News
CALLS have been made for a town centre police station to be opened 24 hours a day ‘before it is too late’.
It comes after a newsagents in Blackburn Railway Station, which is just two doors away from a police station, was targeted by burglars for the second time in less than a month.
The owners, who said they are struggling to keep the business going because of the repeat attacks, said it was ‘unbelievable’ the thieves could strike with the station being so close.
A town centre councillor is now calling on Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner, to reopen the office to the public at all times of the day, rather than shutting at 10pm on weekdays and 4am on Fridays and Saturdays.
But the policing chief said to have the station open to the public all day and night was ‘not the best use of resources’ for the constabulary, which has to find £19million of savings.
Coun Hussain Akhtar, who represents the Shear Brow ward, said: “It is time we should have the police station open 24 hours before it is too late.
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“It is such a shame for the people working very hard to keep their business open. It is not fair for them.
“I think we should go back to how it was 30 years ago. There have been too many cuts.
“At the end of the day, people are saying to us in the street that they do not feel safe.”
Amjad Anwar, manager of Station Kiosk, said yesterday’s early morning raid was the result of the ‘lack of police presence’ around the station at night and the development of the town’s Cathedral Quarter.
The 27-year-old, who has been helping run the family business for eight years, said he had become numb by the experience of being targeted.
He said: “I was so annoyed when I heard what had happened.
“To be targeted again is unbelievable.
“This area isn’t policed very much at all and it becomes derelict at night because of the development across the road.
“We have been struggling since the bus station was moved and we are still recovering from the last burglary.
“Around £400 worth of damage has been caused and we lost all of our morning trade because the police were here investigating and dusting for prints.
“People think that we are an easy target and our reputation is hurt every time the shop has to be boarded up.”
During the last burglary on May 26, around £5,000 worth of cigarettes and a full day’s takings were snatched.
The business has also been affected by repeated shoplifting and an assault last summer.
A spokesman for British Transport Police said an investigation into the latest attack was now underway.
The town centre is set to get five new security cameras and two new police community support officers as part of a major anti-crime upgrade by the Business Improvement District team.
Policing chief Mr Grunshaw said despite the town centre police station not being open all hours, victim’s of crime could still contact an officer at any time.
He said: "I'm sorry to hear this business has been targeted twice in such quick succession.
"However, difficult decisions have had to be made about our police stations, and it is not the best use of resources to keep Blackburn's town centre police station open to the public 24 hours a day.”