A LOCAL police station is extending its hours for a trial period to decrease concerns about safety.

Hexham Police Station is one of the many stations in Northumberland that will have its hours extended on a trial-based period, as part of Kim McGuinness' plan to 'strengthen' neighbourhood policing and improve reporting.

Residents can now seek police assistance in person from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, which is an extension from 10 am to 2 pm.

Ms McGuinness said: "These stations have seen reduced hours as a result of austerity measures, and like many residents, I am keen for this to be reversed. The new opening times will be in place for the foreseeable future while usage is monitored.

"The move to extend opening hours is part of my frontline investment plan to strengthen neighbourhood policing and improve reporting.

"Other work to fight and prevent crime in your area included delivering the largest increase in neighbourhood policing in the force's history, establishing a force-wide motorbike anti-social behaviour unit and investing in drone technology to support a wide range of operations.

"Although I hope you don't need to seek police assistance, I am confident that with this extended provision at local stations, people will be assured. Outside of these hours, Northumbria Police can be contacted by dialling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

"Further details of station opening hours can be found on the Northumbria Police website and as always you can email enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk."

Hexham Mayor Derek Kennedy said: "I welcome the 9 - 5 working desk opening from 10 - 2.  The new time is much more realistic and I would encourage people to use it. 

"In my 20 years as a councillor I have seen a drift with people reporting crimes directly to me rather than the Police and I have had to remind people I represent the council, not the Police and that crimes need to be reported to that authority.  Hopefully the extended hours is a indication that Hexham's Police station is here to stay."