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Police station front desks provide community with vital link to policing

A plan to open a police station front desk in Devonport has been hailed by Plymouth MP Luke Pollard as an important step in building bridges with the community in the wake of the Keyham tragedy.

Police station front desks provide community with vital link to policing

It comes as Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner yesterday (Thursday, July 20) visited two police stations which are set to see front desks reopen to the public.
Beginning her latest tour of the two counties, where she is reopening six public enquiry offices in the third phase of a project to bring face-to-face policing back to communities, Alison Hernandez stopped off at Looe and Devonport Police Stations to speak to local inspectors, councillors and members of the community.
The tour continues into next month, taking in Okehampton, Ilfracombe, Kingsbridge and Honiton. These join front desks reopened in Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Truro, Penzance, Bude and Falmouth in phase two which during the first six months of being open to the public saw more than 2,500 people use the service.
There are plans for a further four public enquiry offices to open over the next two years, with locations yet to be decided, bringing the total number open across Devon and Cornwall from nine in 2020 to 26.

 


Commissioner Hernandez said while Devon and Cornwall now enjoys record numbers of police officers, at a time when people were having to pay more for policing in their council tax, it was important they had the best possible access to them.
She said: “I know our communities have been crying out to have police stations reopened. They want to know the police are on their side.
“They're paying more in their council tax since I took office and while we've got record numbers of police officers, they still can't feel and touch them in their communities.
“So having a front desk where you can report crime, give intelligence to the police and ask for help is the right thing to do.”
While visiting the two police stations, the Commissioner met with the local policing team who welcomed the move to open their front desks this financial year.
David Ratcliff, Sector Inspector for Liskeard, said: “After speaking to various members of the public, especially in the Looe area, I know they're very positive because they've got an option to speak to us rather than just ringing, emailing and texting.
“Now they can come to speak to an officer at the station, and we've got someone who can deal with some of their issues and record crime if need be.”
Cornwall Councillor Armand Toms also hailed the move as a great benefit to the residents of Looe and the surrounding area.
He said: “It's given the capability for people to come in and report things that they probably otherwise wouldn't have done.
“It's the front face of the police service in the community. It not only helps the community to report issues, it helps the police to understand what's going on in the community.”
After visiting Looe, the Commissioner stopped off at Devonport Police Station where renovation work was underway to create the new front desk.
Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, spoke of how important access to community policing is in the wake of the mass shooting in Keyham in 2021.
He said: “After the tragedy we've had in Keyham, I really wanted to make sure that people were able to have a better relationship with the police, be able to report crime in person.
“That's why I've been working with our local councillors here and Alison Hernandez, to make sure Devonport was on the list of front desks to be reopened.
“The police office becoming a police station with a front desk I think is a really important part of building bridges in Plymouth.”
And Paul Laity, Sector Inspector for Devonport, also welcomed the move, saying he was looking forward to welcoming members of the public to the police station.
He said: “I'm really excited. The front desk is our open doorway to the public, another avenue that they can use to come in and connect with us.
“The whole role of community policing is engaging with the public, understanding their needs and just having the front doors open for the first time is amazing.”
The six reopening in this phase are due to open their doors before April next year. Members of the public will be able to report crime, get crime prevention advice, and get information on victim services.
For information on public enquiry offices open in your area, visit https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/police-enquiry-office
To report a crime contact 101 or, in an emergency, call 999.
If you’ve been affected by crime and need support, visit https://victimcare-dc.org/ or call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.