MP MARK Francois has called for the farce surrounding Rayleigh police station’s front counter to be resolved as soon as possible.

The MP for Rayleigh and Wickford has called on Roger Hirst, police, fire and police commissioner for Essex, to fix the situation at the station, and has demanded the front counter at the station is reinstated as soon as possible.

Closing the front counter of the police station – which happened in early 2017 – does not mean the station is closed, but residents are not able to speak to someone face-to-face inside.

Mr Francois told the Echo that if anyone wants to speak to someone from inside Rayleigh police station, they have to use the yellow phone on the outside wall, which connects the caller to a switchboard in Chelmsford, which then can put you through to someone back at the station.

He said: “Residents are constantly telling me that the police station is closed. It isn’t.

“It’s fully operational. Officers are constantly walking in and out and police cars are parked outside.

“With the introduction of the town centre teams, there are more and more officers coming and going. It would send an important message to residents if the front counter is put back in place.

“Even if there was someone, maybe a volunteer, a retired police officer or a special constable, manning it five days a week, that would make a difference.”

The Conservative MP explained how he has been campaigning to get the front counter back in place for some time.

He added: “I’ve met with Ben Julian-Harrington, the chief constable, to try to start the process.

“I’ve also met with Roger Hirst in recent weeks.

“He promised that he will look into reintroducing it.”

Cheryl Roe, the deputy leader of Rochford Council echoed the MP’s campaign, and said she would be delighted if the front counter would return at the station.

However Mike Webb, councillor for community safety in the Rochford district, erred on the side of caution.

He said: “I would need to look at how many people used it before it was removed.

“The communication lines need to be working and open to residents.

“If there is a solution to get it put back in, I would be all for it.” The police and crime commissioner was contacted for comment.