Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, marked the reopening of police enquiry offices in Cornwall and Devon on Friday and Saturday, visiting Newton Abbot, Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Bude and Tiverton to officially mark the occasions.
In Bude, Devon & Cornwall, Police Assistant Chief Constable, Jim Nye, joined the Crime Commissioner and local members of the community.
A spokesperson for Bude and Bodmin enquiry office said: “When people come to the station and report incidences in person they often arrive visibly upset and need some reassurance. We’ve met members of the public who have been very grateful to see Bude Station reopened and we hear from people regularly when they come to report incidents about how much they appreciate the face to face interaction.”
In May 2022, Ms Hernandez and the Chief Constable announced more front desks would open to the public again after closures in 2014 due to austerity measures. The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) undertook a series of public surveys which helped inform the ultimate decision to reopen four police enquiry offices in Cornwall; Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Bude. Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, funded the re-openings.
Ms Hernandez said: “Thanks to investment from our residents, Devon and Cornwall Police now has record police officer numbers. Having accessible police stations close to our communities is the missing part of the jigsaw in providing the neighbourhood model of policing that the Chief Constable and I support.
“Although we experience some of the lowest crime levels in the country, drugs and antisocial behaviour are considerable issues for our communities. We want people to feel confident in telling us about the problems and challenges they experience before these issues escalate so preventative action can be taken.
“Already crimes including non-recent historic offences have been reported at one of our reopened police enquiry desks, demonstrating that some people prefer talking to an officer in confidence and in person.”
Devon & Cornwall Police is the largest geographic police force in England and Wales and has more domestic visitors than any other, increasing demand for emergency services in remote rural and coastal locations selected for investment.
“There is an immediate positive effect of having these stations back open to the public for these communities,” the Commissioner added. “But this is more than that – it’s about making a long-term commitment to the people of Devon and Cornwall. We want to let them know that the police are by their side, accessible and care about their problems.”
Plans are underway to re-open other Police Enquiry Offices in the future across Devon and Cornwall in a bid to give the public extra ways of contacting officers and receiving help in person. In the police enquiry offices which are open to the public in Bude, Falmouth, Penzance and Truro the public can report crime, receive prevention advice and meet officers and staff of many different ranks and roles.
When not dealing with in-person enquiries, the newly recruited police enquiry officers are able to respond to non-emergency contact via online channels, so taking pressure off their colleagues in contact centres and reducing waiting times for the public. The latest round of openings has created an additional 26 part time jobs.