Police bosses have said the temporary closure of the front desk at Great Harwood’s under-threat police station was due to ‘staff sickness and annual leave’.
The closure has been questioned, coming at a time where police numbers are under the spotlight nationally in the wake of three major terror attacks in as many months.
But police bosses said it was only a temporary measure and insisted the enquiry desk will re-open fully next week.
Former councillor Ian Robinson said the partial closure this week was ‘disgusting’.
He said: “It’s sad that it is closed. It should be open, even if it’s only manned by volunteers.
“People want to feel that security blanket around them. We need this relationship between us and the police.
"If people could have more interactions with police on a quiet one-to-one basis then we might have less problems.
“People are frightened of emailing or ringing up because they think it could be traced back to them. Once we’ve lost the interaction between the public and police we’ve lost everything.”
Residents are being advised to travel to the nearest public enquiry desks in Accrington, Blackburn or Clitheroe.
Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw explained: “I understand that a combination of staff sickness and annual leave led to a staff shortage that meant the front desk was left temporarily unstaffed this week.
“I have been assured that this is purely temporary and the front desk will be open on Tuesday and Thursday this week and will be open on its usual hours next week.
"This has in no way affected policing of the area and only means that people calling at the police station have had to check in via a telephone rather than via the front desk.”
In March we revealed that the station’s front counter could be at risk of permanent closure as part of planned £18m in cuts by 2020.
A consultation will begin this summer, police bosses confirmed.
Retired police officer and Great Harwood resident Patrick McGinley said: “Resources are being spread all around because of the terrorist attacks.
"People will have to acknowledge that for short periods of time they could have staffing shortages or over-stretched resources because of terrorist threats.
“Everybody wants it to stay open at all times because people do want that contact.”