THREE rural police stations in north Lancashire are to close to save cash.

Lancashire Constabulary is closing Over Kellet, Cowan Bridge and Caton police stations - together with more across Lancashire - to save £42 million in the next four years.

The decision to close the stations - which are currently used for local community beat teams and have no front desk - came following a review on police premises and front counter services.

The force also announced today that instead of closing 21 of its 38 counters, it will close just 14 - although none in north Lancashire will be affected.

The constabulary has said that the majority of people will have to travel less than five miles to access an alternative front counter.

Richard Bayly, Chief Superintendent for Northern Division, said: “Some people have also expressed concerns in relation to the impact of any police station closures on response times but it is a misconception that response officers are currently sat in local police stations waiting to be sent out to incidents.

“The truth is that our response officers are deployed from a range of locations and therefore I am confident that, in the main, the time it takes us to respond to calls for help will not be affected by these decisions.”

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, said: “Although we have had to make some very difficult decisions in respect of closing some of our public counters and buildings, we have also been able to keep more than we had hoped for, and the results of the public consultation have certainly helped us to do this, along with considerations such as value for money and effectiveness, the operational impact of closures, visitor numbers and the availability of alternative venues.”

The force will save just over £386,000 per year through the closure of the 14 front counters, £4.5million through the sale of 31 other police buildings and around £500,000 per year in the running costs of those buildings.