Monday, 25 May 2015

Closure of Launceston custody centre confirmed

It's been announced that Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg is shutting Launceston custody centre in October, having already closed the front desk at the police station. This means that police officers will have to take anyone arrested in Launceston as far away as Newquay, Plymouth or Barnstaple and they will be off the streets for hours while they do this - potentially leaving Launceston without any officers.

This chipping away at Launceston's police service has left many people worried about the future of the police station, with fears that Tony Hogg could shut it altogether. Along with other councillors, I met with the police and put this question to them. We are told that the situation will be reviewed in 18 months or so, but this is likely to be on the basis that if it is seen to be 'working' then the custody area will be declared surplus to requirements. And if that is the case then can the continued presence of the police in such a large building be justified?

So it may well be that the police end up moving to new (much smaller) premises in the town. But the police did give a firm commitment that there will always be a police presence in Launceston because the town is too big not to have one.

It is worrying to see Tony Hogg repeatedly cutting our police service. The money spent on his salary and office could be much better spent on frontline policing - I've posted on this sort of waste on many occasions in the past. It is also worrying that Mr Hogg should have insisted on a 'quick fix' to save money. Those tasked with finding the savings were blocked from considering potential money saving options such as new builds or more co-operation with other public sector agencies such as the council.

Whatever damage Mr Hogg continues to do, I know Launceston's officers and PCSOs are committed to doing the very best they can with the resources they have. The 101 number is still not operating as it should and a PCSO told me that not everything which is reported on 101 is getting passed down to officers in Launceston. If you report a crime then ask for a log number and if it isn't followed up you can push for officers to do so.

In an emergency always call 999, but to report any other crime or antisocial behaviour call 101 or email with full details and remember to ask for a log number.

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