PROPOSALS have been unveiled to close the front counter at Leyland Police Station and cut the hours at Chorley.

The move, which would see 10 of the county's police stations close to the public and and reduce the hours at several more, would save the force £1.4million if approved.

The proposals are part of plans to shave £19.8million from the force's budget in line with Government cuts by 2020. That is on top of the £72.2million cut since 2010.

The plans outlined by Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw would see Leyland, which is open from 9am to 8pm across the week, shut and Chorley reduce its hours from 9am to 8pm all week to 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. It would be closed on Sundays.

The changes would come into force in January.

Mr Grunshaw said no police jobs were under threat and there would be no change in the way the area was policed.

However if the plans, which are subject to consultation, go ahead, civilian staff numbers across the county would be reduced from 97 to 54.

He added that some of the front counters only saw between three and 10 people a day.

A spokesman for the commissioner's office said it was in consultation with unions and it was hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies.

The move comes on the back of a review by the force, which suggests fewer crimes are reported via police stations.

The review showed demand on the police telephone contact centre continues to grow with more than 2,400 calls dealt with every day, while the cost of serving residents at each station varies from £5.77 at the busiest stations and £44.23 at the quietest, based on hours worked and number of people seen.

Much of the work done by front desk staff such as immigration registrations, some driving and vehicle checks has also moved online.

Mr Grunshaw said: "Firstly I want to reassure our communities this review will not change the way areas are policed.

"Front counters are not staffed by police officers and this review will not impact on officer numbers.

"Of course these changes are taking place as part of the way the force looks to manage the continuing cuts to its funding by Government.

"But it is more than just that, what the force wants to do is ensure services provide value for money and are delivered in a way that people want to receive them.

"We have to look at how the public want to report crimes and make sure that service receives the investment it needs. The public have been voting with their feet for some time and the front counters proposed for closure serve only three to ten people a day."

Rachel Baines, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, said: "With the severity of these cuts closing the front counters is the only way of finding the necessary savings without reducing police numbers further.

"Our stance as a federation remains policing needs investment.

"The Government has cut the budget by £72million in the last seven years and we still need to find another £20million in the next three years."

To take part in the consultation write to Front counter review, County Hall, Pitt Street, Preston PR1 0LD or email commissioner@lancashire-pcc.gov.uk.