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Caerphilly MP raises police station closures in House of Commons

Published in News. Last updated on Friday March 16th, 2012 at 09:00

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Caerphilly MP Wayne David has raised the issue of police station closures in the House of Commons.

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

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 Mr 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.

In Business Questions in the House on Thursday, Mr David called for a special debate on the closures and the fact that there had been no consultation.

He said: “May we have a debate on the fact that the chief constable of Gwent police has embarked on a programme of draconian spending cuts at the behest of the Home Office without any consultation whatsoever with elected representatives, the police authority or, indeed, members of the public?

Sir George Young MP responded on behalf of the Government and said there would be an opportunity for him to raise the issue with the Home Secretary on Monday.

Sir George also recognised that Wayne David was “on the warpath”.

Later today (Friday), Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Carmel Napier, has agreed to meet Gwent’s Labour MPs for an emergency meeting to discuss the cuts programme.

Mr David has said the purpose of the meeting is for the MPs to tell the Chief Constable that she should stop the station closure programme immediately and begin a process of consultation.

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  • Christopher Wright

    Can you get Mr David to read

    http://chris4gwentpcc.co.uk/plaid-cymru-anger-ove

    as he does not seem have a majority backing.

    Cuts have to be made.

    Stop badgering the Chief Constable.

    Attack the Home Secretary to get us more money

  • Trefor Bond

    This Police Station closure measure by the Chief Constable of Gwent is a perfect example of a situation why we need ELECTED Police Commissioners, that is Elected Police Commissioners who will properly represent the communities they serve, or, they will be out at the next election.

    Now we have elected MP`s, AM`s and Local Councillors all quite rightly crowing about this issue when everybody knows that the Chief Constable`s decisions are final, the buck stops with her. It also shows the total uselessness of the very costly to run Gwent Police Authority who also appear totally ineffectual in this situation. Where are the statements from them of justification and support for the Chief Constable for this almost total wipeout of Police Stations in Gwent?. Do They Support It ???

    The closure of the first call, public facing aspect of community policing, has been wiped out at a stroke, no consultation with the public they purport to serve,no consultation with our elected MP`s AM`s and local Councillors who serve those same communities, and it would certainly appear from recent comments posted on these pages, from local Councillors, that their colleagues who sit with them in the Caerphilly council Chamber, and, who are also member of the Gwent Police Authority i.e. Plaid Cymru Councilor Colin Mann, and Labour Leader of Caerphilly Council Councillor Harry Andrews, did not know of the plans either, or at best, they kept particularly quiet about them.

    It is about time those who are elected to represent these communities, and who get paid very well to do so, should examine their actions, or in this case, their in-actions and consider if they are doing the citizens of Gwent a dis-service, or do they indeed oppose the actions of their Chief Constable????? they are very quiet on the subject, can we, in fact take it, that all local politicians will join Wayne David MP and other MP`s in Gwent in pressing for proper consultation on the subject before a single police station door is closed.????

  • Trefor Bond

    Christopher Wright has to be much clearer, now that he has officially entered the race for the post of elected Police Commissioner. What does he mean, ` he ( MP Wayne David) does not have majority backing`, for what may I ask???.

    We have no fear of an ex-policeman being elected to the role of Gwent Police Commissioner, and to read Christopher`s comments in support of the topic of destroying the public facing facilities of community policing in our communities by closing police stations up and down the Gwent area is testiment to his willingness to side step the views of the people he is seeking support from to become electable next Novemeber.

  • Christopher Wright

    Trefor, Mr David is merely conducting a sound-bite for his own upcoming candidate parachuted into Gwent for the positio of Police and crime Commissioner.

    I will NEVER have a'willingness to side step veiws of the community' but after 30 years service I am so aware that this, due to Governement funding, is a stark choice – community officers or buildings, frequently out of town.

    If there are stations, highligted by the Gwent Constabulary's research, that have 7 people inside them in every 8 hours there is a stark choice between how many people can an officer meet in 8 hours or how many of those 7 could have had a home visit after a telephone call.

    Time and time again the facts arrive that the community wants police officers amongst them acting on their behalf and dealing with their requests for help.

    There is nothing an officer at home can do that could not be done at a police station.

    Also the buildings themselves are not being dispensed with … so if an officer or caller feels that a action needs to be undertaken at a police station this can still be done locally.

    Lastly nobody seems to be taking account of the fact that the closing of front offices is a national action brought about by severe funding cuts. Mr David is alone in his report to Parliament.

    Gwent Police took and take great pride in having immediate communication with their communities and I never knew a time when a person, who called at a police station outside the current opening hours, did not get an officer deputed to return from patrolling and assist them if that was what they wanted.

    This will still continue.

  • Richard Williams

    Well that was easy, I shall not be voting for Christopher Wright if he stands for election as police commissioner. He has eloquently blown his own campaign out of the water without the other candidates firing a shot.

  • Trefor Bond

    Christopher – Thank you for explaining, in more detail, where you personally stand on these community based police station closures, I don`t mean to be disingenuous but I think we can leave it to the Chief Constable to justify her own actions, and, a Police Commissioner who will not support the people who elect them will not last long at all in the post, the post holder is not intended to be an apologist, or, public facing, `public relations` type press officer for the Police service, intent on smoothing the processes of public discontent.

    Lets also get out of the way the fact that public facing police officers, and, now Community Support Officers, do, generally, what it says on the tin, so the critisism which the public may make about the Chief Constables current closure proposals should not be used to beat them with.

    The point you miss by a mile is that the public don`t have the confidence in the processes, which you clearly have, when they need to engage with the police.

    Some of your comments in gratification of the Gwent Police are also wild of the mark, there is no such thing as `immediate communication` with the police, and the closure of police station up and down the entire Gwent communities can only make that process even more hit and miss.

    Your argument would be better made if you said you agreed with the dispensing of police cars, unless they are required for the transport of prisoners, or incidents requiring a fast response, that is, people seeking urgent assistance which the police operator has decided is a call which moves onto the list which categorises their problem `priority`, otherwise, officers could walk from Blackwood to Caerphilly quicker than the current response times to non-urgent calls for assistance, which are, sometimes` days`.

    No personal reflection on Christopher Wright because I do not know him personally, and, I am sure he is a man of immpecable character being an ex-police officer, but he makes a good case for the police service,his arguements in this issue demonstrates all that would be wrong if the voters up and down the country were asked to elect worn out ex-Police officers, to the very important role of Local Police Commissioners and who`s entire careers have been designed by convention to defend his service and his employers at all times.