- Coleford to be re-named Forest of Dean Police Station at official opening
- Commissioner delivers on pledge to establish Forest policing hub
- Former magistrates’ court will house Community Rehabilitation Company, National Probation Service and community space
- Lydney Police Station also retained for possible use in the future
The long term plan to make Coleford the main centre for the Police and other criminal justice services in the Forest of Dean will be confirmed at a landmark ceremony today (Saturday).
Officers have been working out of the town’s police station throughout the refurbishment and this morning it will be officially re-named the Forest of Dean Police Station by the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire Countess Bathurst.
The former magistrates’ court building, which shares the site and was bought by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl last December following its closure in 2011, will also be home to the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), National Probation Service and provide a space for use by the community.
Now that the entire site is owned by the PCC, he can deliver on his promise to make it the main base or ‘hub’ for policing and other criminal justice services in the Forest which he made when he was first elected in November 2012.
And although the police will no longer operate from Lydney Police Station, the building is being retained by the PCC for other possible use in the future should the economy improve.
Mr. Surl said: “It has taken much longer than I had hoped and there were many times during complex negotiations with the Ministry of Justice over the courthouse when I feared it might never happen. But we have made it and I am delighted.
“It is important for law enforcement in the Forest that the area retains its own identity and I believe that developing Coleford as a hub for the Police and other criminal justice services is crucial to that.
“Being able to save a building the police already owned, spruce it up and make better use of it, also represents excellent value for money”.
“This is a really good location we can develop, which is reflected in its new name. I hope the police who work here and the people they serve will be proud of it”.
Community Rehabilitation Companies were created in 2014 as part of the Government’s reform of probation services. They provide a wide range of probation services to help reduce re-offending, working with low and medium risk offenders, managing their community sentences and giving them the knowledge, skills and support to enable them to stop offending
The National Probation Service was created at the same time to be responsible for high risk offenders, advising courts on sentencing, victim liaison and approved premises.