PENSIONERS could be at risk because of post office changes, an angry community leader has warned.
Flintshire county councillor Christine Jones said the lack of privacy at the new Post Office counter at the Spar shop in Welsh Road, Garden City, had led to fears the elderly will be targetted when withdrawing money.
Residents concerned about security have also highlighted the threat to staff at the post office.
Although Spar and Post Office services are staffed at different points on the same counter, queuing space is limited, leaving no room for the usual privacy gap behind and beside Post Office users. Residents said they felt unsafe conducting private business and withdrawing money in full view or people using the adjacent shop counter.
One pensioner, who asked not to be named, said: “People are worried about their money being snatched.
“Some are in their 80s or 90s and they have to walk home with that money.
“They’re scared because anyone could see their money being counted out.”
Several residents also voiced serious concerns for staff, who would be denied the plastic or glass window barriers usually found in post office branches under the proposed changes.
Cllr Jones added: “There’s no security there. Nothing has been put in place for people to do anything in private.
“They’re in full view of the general counter.
“Anyone can watch people get their pension and they’re worried what will happen to them when they go out of the shop. It’s not safe.”
A Post Office spokesman said the safety and security of customers and subpostmasters was very important to the Post Office.
“Although the local style branch provides service in a different way, security or privacy is not compromised,” he said.
“As with any other branch, we have robust security procedures in place and anyone handling Post Office transactions, including new staff, are fully trained on all operational and service issues, including customer privacy.
“The modernisation of the branch has resulted in many benefits for customers, including much greater convenience through the almost 120 hours a week opening hours on offer to access Post Office products and services.
“This is more than double the original opening hours of the branch. Our local style branches have a proven track record and combining the Post Office with a successful retail business can ensure that both elements are more successful and sustainable going forward.
"The local model itself is also proving to be popular with customers - we currently have over 750 Post Office Local branches operating successfully right across the UK, attracting customer satisfaction scores of over 90 per cent.”