19 Mar True to my word: I haven’t closed any police stations.. I’ve opened them
Two Gloucestershire police stations, earmarked for closure a decade ago, will be open to the public once more.
Lydney Police Station in the Forest of Dean, which was re-opened a year ago, is now trialling a public reception.
Barton Street in Gloucester will follow suit as soon as the building has been adapted to receive visitors.
A further commitment to local policing.
A year go we re-opened Lydney as an operational police station.
Whilst it didn’t have a public reception is was staffed. But now we’re going one step further with trialling a public reception.
We’ve led not followed
Gloucestershire like many forces during the decade of austerity reverted to an on demand style policing.
Community police was pulled back to plough resources into dealing with the demand coming in.
That was an operational decision and one I understood but did say we must not forget our communities.
Local police stations show we are there
On being re-elected in 2016 I had a mandate to push for neighbourhood policing and it was “re-introduced”.
The move to re-open police stations are in contrast to other parts of the country where a recent survey showed that more than half of UK police stations have closed during the last ten years.
I have always believed in the value of strong community links and Gloucestershire Constabulary was one of the first to revert to a neighbourhood model.
Improving the ways people can contact the police was a commitment I made on re-election in 2016.
Although there are now lots more ways to get in touch, many people miss being able to walk into a police station and talk to an officer face to face.
I wish we could have more
“We can’t turn the clock back completely but I hope to be able to announce plans for more ‘blue light centres’ in the future, but sadly we cannot go back to a police house or station in every town and village.
But that visible presence in our communities remains a committment of mine and will for as long as I am your commissioner because ‘Every crime matters, every contact counts’ is the ‘golden thread’ of my refreshed Police and Crime Plan”.
The Constabulary’s approach to neighbourhood policing was further enhanced by the re-introduction of dedicated superintendents to act as local crime commanders.
Forest of Dean Commander, Superintendent Jane Probert said on the decision to re-open Lydney’s reception:
“Lydney has two front of house staff working part-time Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., which we will review in a couple of months based on demand and foot fall. Coleford remains open full-time.
The Forest South Neighbourhood Team operates from Lydney and includes police officers and PCSOs and is led by a Sergeant. It is also used as a base for the Tutor and Assessment Unit, so we have experienced Police Constables tutoring new recruits who are beginning their journey in policing.
Both teams are responding to community needs, calls for service as well as proactive policing operations in the community”.
The history time line:
- 2011 Lydney Police Station appears on a list of Gloucestershire Police Stations earmarked for closure by the former Police Authority
- 2012 Ownership of the building on Lydney High Street passes to the PCC following his election. Although earmarked for closure by the former Police Authority as part of a major programme of budget cuts, the PCC’s aspiration is to re-establish it when finances permit
- 2015 The station is mothballed and operational resources are directed from Coleford
- 2017 the Constabulary seeks to lease out the property with no interest.
- 2020 PCC announces Lydney Police Station will re-open