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Gwent Police to close stations to the public in Caerphilly, Bargoed, Rhymney, Ystrad Mynach, Bedwas and Risca

Published in News at 08:00, Wednesday March 14th, 2012. Last updated at 08:18, Wednesday March 14th, 2012

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Gwent Police has announced plans to close 17 of its stations to the public – including those in Caerphilly, Bargoed, Rhymney, Ystrad Mynach, Bedwas and Risca.

The stations will remain as bases for police officers but will be closed to visitors wishing to report crimes in person.

The changes, which were originally leaked to Caerphilly MP Wayne David last week, will see the loss of 19 front desk jobs.

Gwent Police has said the changes will save it £500,000. Due to budget cuts from the UK Government, the force has to find savings of £34 million by 2015 – so far it has achieved £17m.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Prince said he wanted to reassure the public in light of the closures.

He said: “Our 24/7 presence will remain as strong as ever, giving rapid response to their calls for help and advice. Only the places and the ways we interact with them will change.

“While officers will still be visible in the community, society has changed the way it communicates with increased use of digital channels and we are finding innovative ways of meeting these needs.

“So far, we have been able to save money to meet the national budget cuts with just one redundancy. Unfortunately these changes mean that 19 station enquiry officer posts will be lost. We have been in discussions with Unison and each member of staff has been fully briefed and will be given the support they need and the opportunity to apply for vacancies within the force as they arise”

“It’s important to bear in mind that it’s officers, not buildings, who cut crime and we are determined that Gwent residents will continue to receive good policing services.”

Blackwood is the only station in Caerphilly County Borough that will still have a public front desk and will continue to be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. Only Newport Central will have 24-hour public access across the force area.

Gwent Police Unison branch secretary Linda Sweet said: “We’re concerned that this has come about. We’re also optimistic that staff can be found other posts at this time.

“These people are highly skilled and highly thought of in the organisation. They have a wealth of knowledge of the police service.”

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  • Cllr Colin Elsbury

    This is an absolute disgrace. An object lesson in how to alienate the public from reporting crime and make people feel less safe. The 101 system doesn’t work on a mobile and to think they've had the cheek to put their precept on the Council Tax this year. So much for Community Policing!

  • Andrew Davies

    Its about time we had some accountability in the Police. They’ve made this decision without any consultation to the public, local politicians etc,. Perhaps a Police Commissioner isn’t such a bad idea after all!!

  • Richard Williams

    Appalling but not unexpected, in due course I predict the Blackwood station will go too. As we, in Caerffili town, are likely to be part of a North Cardiff constituency how about our elected representatives campaigning for us to be policed from Cardiff? Caerffili is not, and never has been, part of Gwent. It has always puzzled me that the great and good thought that we should come under Gwent police.

  • Mark

    They say the crime rate is down in Caerphilly but I don't believe that,looks like we have been conned they said we would have a New Police Station in the old post office,years ago you would always see a Policeman on the beat not these days though.

  • Cllr James Fussell

    It's another reduction in service that the public will need convincing is for the better. Our community police and PCSO are doing a good job with the resources available but this stikes at the heart of community policing by removing the front office provision, which in Caerffili Town has only just been relocated to be in the Town centre.
    It looks like a done deal so do I look forward to the "exciting and innovative plans" to engage with Caerffili citizens. The jury is out I'm afraid.

  • Phil Evans

    I note that the statement is made that police will still be visible in the Community. They have hardly been visible for years now. They should be out on the beat preventing crime before it happens by nipping it in the bud. The police seems to be let it happen and investigate afterwards. Hardly fair on victims. The police are supported by the public through Council Tax but I do not recolect any consultation has ever taken place with their financers over the years re removal of officers from the beat.

  • Mark

    Well said Phil Evans..

  • Gareth Pratt

    Its a dreadful situation, pretty much denuding the Rhymney Valley of policing cover from a permenant base. It seems madness to me. Most police funding comes from Central government, so the current Tory government can be held responsible for these cuts. I doubt we'll be policied from Cardiff. Cardiff North will be in the South Wales Police force area and we'll stay in Gwent. Apparently Rhymney Valley was brought under Gwent Police control back in the 1990's because SWP couldn't afford to run their whole area, and so we were shifted to Gwent. I lived in Machen at the time.

  • Richard Williams

    As I have said several times in this on-line paper we should try out the idea of an elected commissioner to replace the cosy police authority that is currently appointed without recourse to us; the people who pay for it and suffer from its short comings.