Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has announced plans to re-open Lydney police station in the Forest of Dean.
When will it re-open?
The base is scheduled to become operational again later this year and will enhance the police presence in the area.
Mr. Surl said, “I have been determined to keep a physical police presence in each of the county’s six districts, not only so that officers can operate from local bases and respond quickly to emergencies, but also to make the police more accessible and accountable.
“Improving communications between the police and the public has always been one of my priorities”.
Background of Lydney station
Ownership of the building on Lydney High Street passed to the PCC following his election in 2012. Whilst it had already been earmarked for closure by the former Police Authority as part of a major programme of budget cuts, it was the PCC’s ambition it could be re-established when finances permitted.
Prudent fiscal management during the years of austerity has been acknowledged by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) and the Constabulary is now in a much healthier financial position.
PCC Martin Surl’s view
Mr. Surl said, “It will be up to the Chief Constable how he utilises the building but it’s hoped that 20 officers and two sergeants will work from there with the first floor dedicated to investigational work. Neighbourhood policing would also be a priority, with drop-in spaces available on the ground floor to help build relationships with the community and provide a local presence.
“I am proud to say that since I was elected in November 2012, in contrast with the extensive programme of closures authorised at the time not a single Gloucestershire police station has closed. Though I accept, some stations have been forced to change in the way they operate.
“I can understand that the authority was in a difficult financial position at the time and thought cashing-in on the building was a solution. But I was not prepared to sacrifice the long term security of the police in the Forest in favour of a short term gain”.
Chief Constable Rod Hansen’s view
Chief Constable Rod Hansen said, “We took the difficult decision to withdraw services from Lydney Police Station as part of the New Operating Model we had to introduce following cuts in Home Office funding. Re-opening Lydney Police Station will mean a permanent police presence in a town which is growing rapidly as a result of the burgeoning local economy and the now free passage across the Severn bridges.
“We will determine which resources to base there and when to officially open the building in due course.
“The reopening of Lydney is yet another example of how Gloucestershire Constabulary is bucking the national trend; instead of closing stations we are actually opening them”.