Police Stations to Stay Open
In the wake of feedback from the public and after consulting with local Police Unit Commanders, Local Authorities and the Chief Constable, Gwent PCC Ian Johnston reopened front counter services at several police stations last year which had previously been closed or had limited opening hours.
In a move welcomed by the Gwent Police and Crime Panel, stations in Caerphilly, Chepstow, Maindee, Monmouth, Pontypool, Risca and Ystrad Mynach reopened their front counters between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. The Commissioner also extended the opening hours at Abertillery and Brynmawr stations.
Mr Johnston has been reviewing and evaluating these arrangements over the last 12 months and has decided to retain public access to these police stations following the findings of a number of public surveys he organised last year and feedback from the hundreds of public engagement meetings that both he and his team have attended.
The PCC commissioned two evaluations of the re-opened stations between July and October 2014. They revealed that respondents supported the decision to offer front counter services. Most people felt they had received a good service when they had used / visited the stations and that this provision should be permanently reinstated. These responses were confirmed by the replies received to a separate online survey using the Online Watch Link (OWL) system and a question relating to station access that was included in the PCC's recent Precept questionnaire.
Delighted to announce that the stations will remain open, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "When I took office in 2012, I embarked on a series of community engagement activities and it became apparent that the closing of front counter services was not a popular decision with the community. The data from the surveys and the positive public feedback in relation to my decision to re-establish access to police stations has made it clear to me that this is what the public want and that these facilities are important where reassuring and engaging with the public is concerned. Acting on this information, I'm delighted to announce that these stations will remain open."
The Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, said: "It is clear from the results of these surveys, the public would like additional police stations to remain accessible to them as well as the five front counters which have remained operational over the last couple of years. It will complement our wider face-to-face engagement work including regular and pre-advertised police surgeries at other police stations across the force, as well as in partner and public facilities, and the use of our mobile police stations in key public areas."
Welcoming the decision to keep the police stations open, Linda Sweet, Unison Gwent Police and Justice Branch Secretary, said: "We welcome the decision to keep the stations open following the successful trial period last year. Staff that were temporary will now be made permanent and they are obviously delighted with the decision which provides them with job security and peace of mind. The public response has been outstanding and there was an overwhelming call from them to keep these stations open. It's good to be able to provide them with a service they called for and this decision also gives them peace of mind."
The Commissioner has also been working collaboratively with local authorities and organisations to ensure that Gwent Police maintains a strong presence in the heart of the communities it serves. This includes the opening of a brand new Police customer service desk at Caerphilly Library and a new police office at the social enterprise development in Trevethin. He has also provided accommodation to community groups in Police stations throughout Gwent to make the best use of any spare capacity at some of these stations. The Old Police Court House next to Bargoed Police Station now houses the Town Council and a garage at New Tredegar Police Station is being used as storage for a local food bank. These are just some examples of how the PCC has been breathing life back into some of these stations for the benefit of the local community.
"In these times of austerity, we have looked at more innovative ways where police access can be provided to communities by working effectively with local partners," said Mr Johnston.
"This is a great example of partnership working to improve services at a time when budgets are shrinking and demand for police services shows no sign of diminishing.
- Caerphilly, Chepstow, Maindee, Monmouth, Pontypool, Risca and Ystrad Mynach police stations are open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday
- Abertillery station open Thursday to Friday 9am - 5pm
- Brynmawr station open Monday to Wednesday 9am - 5pm
For further information about Police Station opening hours please visit www.gwent.police.uk/stations/