RESIDENTS who’d like their local police station to re-open to the public are being urged to fill in a short survey.
Public-facing reception desks began closing in Cornwall more than a decade ago, and in South East Cornwall, no station is open to the public at present. Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez has set about reversing this in order to deal with the overloading of the 101 enquiry line, which she has described as a “headache”. Ms Hernandez says that the staffing of front desks will enable residents to have the reassurance of face-to-face contact, while those employed on the desks would also be able to assist in dealing with emails to the two contact centres in Exeter and Plymouth.
“Front desks are ideal places for residents to report crime, get advice on crime prevention or victim services and to connect policing to local communities,” she said.
“When not dealing with people face-to-face, Police Enquiry Officers are able to deal with non-emergency email contacts, reducing pressure on the force’s 101 service.”
Public support is one of the factors that the Commissioner will use to decide on which places to re-open. People in Devon and Cornwall can submit their views until January 2 by visiting www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DYPSW66
Ms Hernandez said that initial feedback from communities where police enquiry offices have reopened in December has been extremely positive.
“Crimes have been reported, a vulnerable missing person given shelter and assistance, and crime prevention information handed out.
“The project has so far created 26 part time police enquiry jobs and helped ease the pressure on police contact centres by enabling more people to meet an officer or police member of staff in their community.
“I know more communities would like to see their police stations reopened to the public and I am absolutely committed to delivering more openings. Public support was a vital component in deciding the first locations for this investment, so now I’m asking people to let me know which stations they would be most likely to use if their front desks were reopened.”
Local people are asked to choose three preferred locations from a list of 44 police stations in the Devon and Cornwall Police area. In East Cornwall, those on the list are Callington, Bodmin, Launceston, Liskeard, Looe, Saltash and Torpoint.
The other criteria which will determine which police enquiry offices reopen are:
Feasibility– questions such as the level of investment needed to bring the space back into use
Impact on the station – such as having to relocate a policing team to enable the works.
Location and distance – geographic location and distance to next nearest open front desk
Population size – in terms of resident population and anticipated seasonal increases.