Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston has confirmed that police stations in Caerphilly town, Risca and Ystrad Mynach will reopen to the public – as exclusively revealed by Caerphilly Observer last week.
At Friday’s meeting of the Gwent Police and Crime Panel in Usk, Mr Johnston announced the decision to fully reopen or extend the opening hours of several police stations throughout Gwent which had previously been closed to the public or had limited opening hours.
Caerphilly town’s police station on Market Street will close with Monday to Friday public access to officers being reinstated at the town’s new £5 million library at the Twyn. Risca and Ystrad Mynach police stations will also reopen to the public on a 9am to 5pm basis on weekdays.
Public access to Risca, Ystrad Mynach and Caerphilly stations ceased in July 2012 under former Chief Constable Carmel Napier.
The front desk closures were part of a plan to save £500,000 from the police budget – part of a wider need by Gwent Police to save £34 million by 2015 in light of public sector cuts by the UK Government.
In total, 17 station front desks closed to the public including Bedwas, Bargoed and Rhymney.
Other stations in the Gwent force area that will reopen or have their opening hours extended are:
Maindee Police Station in Newport;
Pontypool Police Station in Torfaen;
Chepstow and Monmouth Police Stations in Monmouthshire;
Abertillery and Brynmawr Police Stations will now open for between two to three days a week;
Mr Johnston said he will review access to the police stations after 12 month, which will include a full public consultation.
He said: “I have attended over 400 meetings with the public since coming into office. The closure of Police Stations and accessibility to them has been high on the agenda for many of our communities in Gwent.
“As a result of this feedback I have had discussions with the Chief Constable to review access to Police Stations in our communities and to see how they can be best utilised.
“I have taken action and delivered on the feedback I have received and I’m delighted to announce the reopening and the extension of opening hours of Police Stations throughout Gwent.
“The announcement today complements some of the priorities outlined in my Police and Crime Plan with regards to delivering the best quality of service available for the people of Gwent, reducing and preventing crime and protecting people from serious harm. My plan also highlights how I will make the best use of resources and provide value for money. The opening of these stations plays an important part of that.”
Mr Johnston added the reopening plans have been costed within current financial plans.