Agenda item

Chepstow Police Station: Closure of Front Desk and other matters


The Chair welcomed Inspector Damien Sowrey to the meeting to discuss the closure of Chepstow Police Station front counter.


The Committee was informed that Gwent Police had reviewed front counter provision and reduced them from 13 to 6 in response to a national trend of reduced footfall and use for non- urgent enquiries in favour of online reporting, social media and phone calls.  This has created a saving of £700,000 pa and it was confirmed that affected members of staff have been redeployed.


It was emphasised that members of the public, who need to visit the Police Station, can still do so via a phone outside the building direct to the control room, and via a door bell for general enquiries.


It was explained that there are five new officers in the south of the county providing a slightly improved policing position in the area.


A Member commented that there is a higher presence of officers in the Abergavenny and Monmouth area and this needs to be discussed further with commanders.  It was added that ward members need to be aware that the front desk has closed.


It was confirmed that there are PCSO surgeries in Caldicot Library that are publicised on the website but take up is relatively low. 


It was responded that staffing levels reflect that there are higher crime levels in Monmouth and Abergavenny currently.  Rural communities and travelling times are a challenge on resources.  Locally, two neighbourhood enforcement officers have been deployed to address important local issues such as drug use, drug lines etc. 


A Member expressed concern about the staffing levels and lack of contact with communities. Staffing numbers in the area were confirmed including the neighbourhood policing team and schools liaison officers. Other specialist officers can be called upon as required.


A Member of the public asked if account had been taken of the extra cost of transporting and supervising individuals to custody suites to either Ystrad Mynach or Newport, and the impact on staffing. It was responded that it is easier to maintain safety centrally.


Regarding the availability of information on the website, a member of the public pointed out that not everyone has access. It was suggested that information could be made available to community councils for their noticeboards.


Members generally expressed a preference for seeing police officers out in the community.  It was confirmed that all staff have laptops and are encouraged to be out locally.  There are plans for staff to work in some village halls in isolated rural communities.  It was requested that PCSOs provide an engagement session in Chepstow Library if possible.


The Inspector recognised that there are problems with young people in speeding cars and congregating in the car parks and play areas in the town.  There is evidence of drug use and associated detritus.  It was confirmed that these issues are a priority for the neighbourhood team.  It was suggested that such areas could be defined as public spaces protection areas with prohibitions on some behaviours; making them a criminal offence. 


The Inspector encouraged residents to inform the Police of issues of concern and they will do their best to address them.


The Inspector was thanked for his attendance at the meeting.