THE drive to provide communities in Looe with more ways to contact the police will be highlighted by a formal opening event at Looe police station this Wednesday (February 21).

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, promised to open 18 Police Enquiry Offices (PEOs) by 2025, and 13 of these are already up and running with others to follow.

To mark the progress made so far, the front office at Looe police station, which is already staffed, will be holding a formal ribbon-cutting event on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, with local community leaders and politicians invited.

Police station front desks allow members of the public to have access to walk-in services where they can speak to trained staff who can help with crime reporting, crime prevention advice, and help with accessing victim services.

The first PEO to be reopened was in Newquay in 2020. Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Bude PEOs followed in 2021-22.

Since October 2023, Okehampton, Ilfracombe, Honiton, Kingsbridge, and Devonport have also opened.

Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The decision to open more police station front offices across Devon and Cornwall is to improve public access to the police and boost engagement with our communities, enabling us to more quickly and effectively respond to public concerns.

“Continuing to improve the visibility and accessibility of Devon & Cornwall Police is a priority for the Force.

“When not dealing with members of the public face-to-face, our Police Enquiry Officers will be able to assist colleagues in the control rooms by handling non-urgent digital contact from the public and provide the local community with another contact option.”

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Commander Chief Superintendent Benjamin Deer added: “The opening of the Looe Public Enquiry Office provides us with a great opportunity to connect with local people and ensures that those who are not confident or prefer not to use current reporting channels have an opportunity to come to their local station and talk to someone face-to-face.

“Having this access also offers another avenue for the neighbourhood policing team to understand the issues raised by its residents and capture valuable community intelligence.”

A recent study revealed 16 to 24 year-olds were the most likely to think opening Public Enquiry Offices would significantly increase public confidence in the police, and over a quarter of people aged over 65 agreed.

Earlier this month Alison Hernandez announced plans to open further Public Enquiry Offices in Exeter city centre, Tavistock, Ivybridge, and Liskeard. These are expected to open by 2025. Plans for a PEO in Exmouth are also being outlined but no opening date has been decided.

PCC Hernandez said: “Communities in Looe will now be able to access policing closer to home when needing to report a crime or ask for advice.

“This forms part of the most ambitious programme of Police Enquiry Office reopening in the country and my vision is for face-to face contact with the force to be an option for everyone in our force area. This will ensure that wherever you live in Devon and Cornwall – including rural, coastal and urban areas – you will be able to access a Police Enquiry Office.”

Only 10 PEOs were open before the project began. These PEOs were located at Camborne, Bodmin, Barnstaple, Exeter, Newton Abbot, Torquay, Isles of Scilly, Charles Cross, Crownhill and St Austell.

A total of 28 police stations across Devon and Cornwall will have front offices when the project is complete.