TURNING Falmouth's police inquiry office into a coffee shop is an innovative idea which could avoid it having to close, according to Cornwall's police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg.
Police inspector Steve Lenny had previously told Falmouth town councillors that the only way to keep the office open was to rent out part of the station to a coffee shop franchise to offset staffing costs, an idea he was investigating.
As a result of his comments, town councillors raised concerns about the office closure with Mr Hogg.
He has now responded to the council in writing, stating that the "financial challenges" facing the police will continue, with central funding decreasing while public demand for services increases.
"In order to meet those challenges we will need to be much more innovative and consider radical solutions to the problems we face," Mr Hogg wrote.
"I have tasked the Chief Constable with finding £12 million of savings [from] the police budget over the next four years.
"To do this he needs to review those functions that can be more efficiently delivered by other means.
"Inspector Lenny has clearly fed through the innovative measures being explored in an attempt to provide a point-of- contact service and I will ensure the police continue to develop alternative means of improving that contact through technology and more effective face-to-face meetings.
"The savings that will be made from withdrawing this under-used service will be a start in enabling us to maintain frontline police officers over the next four years."
And the police and crime commissioner said he believed the Chief Constable's review of the force's inquiry offices showed that Falmouth's was one which was "not well used" by the public.
"We all need to accept that the way most of us deal with the police has changed over the past few years," he wrote.