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Alice Springs cop shop scales back hours

AAP logoAAP 9/01/2017 Lucy Hughes Jones

Frontline police officers will face extra strain and the lives of domestic violence victims could be endangered once the Alice Springs cop shop adopts a 12-hour operation, the Northern Territory police union says.

From Thursday, the police station's front counter will no longer be staffed 24 hours a day.

Between 7pm and 7am, an intercom buzzer at the front door will connect the public to police communications in Darwin 1500km away.

"The NT has a significantly high rate of domestic violence and the front counter has traditionally been one of those safe areas for victims to seek refuge," NT Police Association President Paul McCue told AAP.

Mr McCue said all overnight tasks will now fall on the shoulders of frontline resources that are already stretched to the limit.

"Summer time in Alice Springs is an extremely busy time of the year so it's a very odd time to be considering such a move," he said.

Alice Spring's Women's Shelter chief executive Di Gippy is concerned vulnerable women will be placed at further risk, with the shelter a 15-minute walk from the station.

"There would be no safe space for a woman anywhere in town after hours," she said.

"If she's in immediate danger, I'm not convinced the response is going to be swift enough."

Mr McCue said the union raised serious objections after being informed "very late in the piece" but NT Police pushed ahead with the decision anyway.

He said very limited, if any, consultation has taken place with the community, while Ms Gippy said she only found out about the new operating hours through the media.

NT Acting Assistant Commissioner Danny Bacon says police will continue to operate 24 hours a day from the station, but officers will be freed up for "frontline operational and public safety functions".

"We have redirected our front counter resources to the peak periods, so reducing the wait for our customers at times of highest demand," he said.

Alice Springs, the major hub for central Australia, is currently the only police front counter in the desert region that is open 24 hours per day.

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