AFTER years of heartfelt pleas, the people of Bude and Stratton finally saw their local police station reopen its public enquiry desk last Saturday.

The desk will be open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm. 

The station was closed to public access for many years but it has been brought back by Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez as part of ongoing works to reopen a number of enquiry desks across the two counties. 

Welcoming the news, MP for North Cornwall Scott Mann said: “We’ve worked very hard to reopen Bude Police Enquiry Office for people in the local area. 

“I know from conversations with constituents on the door that this is something people in Bude and Stratton really wanted, and they’re very happy it has been brought back. It is very important that people, especially vulnerable individuals, can go directly to the police if they need assistance.”

Mr Mann continued: “I really appreciate how hard Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has worked on this, both in Bude and across the entire Devon and Cornwall area.’’

PCC Ms Hernandez said the service was the missing part of the jigsaw when is comes to providing an effective policing model.

She said: “Thanks to investment from our residents, Devon and Cornwall Police now has record police officer numbers. Having accessible police stations close to our communities is the missing part of the jigsaw in providing the neighbourhood model of policing that the Chief Constable and I support.

“Although we experience some of the lowest crime levels in the country, drugs and antisocial behaviour are considerable issues for our communities. We want people to feel confident in telling us about the problems and challenges they experience before these issues escalate so preventative action can be taken.

“Already crimes including non-recent historic offences have been reported at one of our reopened police enquiry desks, demonstrating that some people prefer talking to an officer in confidence and in person.”

A total of 17 front desks are being reopened under the project, taking the total number of PEOs across the force area to 26.  The force was among those to close ‘front desks’ during public sector cuts following the 2009 financial crisis. Across Devon and Cornwall, 11 shut their doors to the public in 2014, although the stations remained in use as operational bases. The Police Enquiry Office (PEO) in the popular Cornish resort of Newquay was the first to be reopened, in 2020. The Commissioner officially reopened the PEOs in Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Penzance, Falmouth, Truro and Bude at the weekend and there are plans to open a further four PEOs between April 2024 and April 2026. So far, £1.5-million has been earmarked for investment in the project.

Rural or coastal locations which see dramatic increases in population during the summer months are among those selected for investment. 

Twenty-four new police enquiry officer posts have been created this year and more staff will be recruited as stations are reopened. New technology means that when not dealing with face-to-face enquiries, they can reduce demand to the police contact unit by dealing with emails and web enquiries.

The stations will be accessible to the public six days a week. A full list of PEOs and their opening times across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is available on the Devon and Cornwall Police website.