The reception desk at Larne Police Station is to be closed at weekends and will only operate until 7pm from Monday to Friday.
But even that limited service is better than that offered at neighbouring Carrickfergus which is one of six reception desks to be closed completely for routine business.
The changes will come into operation on April 3.
Justifying the changes, police say that advances in technology have made it possible ‘to deliver new ways of reporting crime, filling out official forms and engaging with officers’.
They contend that members of the public can now access police services in a number of different ways. Information about policing in the local area, advice, crime prevention and the opportunity to report general crime is available on the PSNI website – www.psni.police.uk.
PSNI has invested in online applications for firearms licences and online vetting through Access NI. The public can find out about local policing and engage with local officers on our social media sites and can always contact police by phoning 101, or 999 in an emergency.
And, according to police this evolving digital footprint means that people no longer need to visit police station enquiry offices as often.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Since the launch of our new website in February 2016 (up to 8 February 2017) more than 445,000 people have visited the site, with more than 1.5 million page views. More than 17,000 people have visited our online crime reporting page. Our social media following grew by 211,305 followers in 2016 and we regularly reach more than 2 million people per week with our social media posts.
“Digital access is what the public have chosen and, in this environment of changing public need and police resources, this is how we are designing for the future and providing best value for public money.
“Enquiry offices were conceived before the digital age however we appreciate that there are some services that require face to face interaction. When considering the changes to station enquiry opening hours we looked at demand and peak use to ensure the impact on the public is kept to a minimum.”