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Morval Parish Council
Views over the parish of Morval Parish

Full News Report

19th February 2024

Looe Police ‘front office’ up and running again

THE police officer responsible for Morval Parish was delighted with his first ‘surgery’ for residents and has expressed the hope that face-to-face meetings can be repeated, perhaps every three months or so.

Police Community Support Officer Dave Billing welcomed eight residents and one parish councillor to the Village Hall, Widegates (Friday, February 16), but said it was not about the numbers, and he was just pleased he was able to listen to people’s concerns and offer some help and advice.

He also said that the ‘front office’ at Looe Police Station was now open to members of the public from Mondays to Saturdays, 10.00 am until 3.00 pm.

The decision to re-install a public face to policing follows the efforts of Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Alison Hernandez, who had pressed government for extra money to re-commission a number of ‘front offices’, including Liskeard, which is due to open its doors later.

But, PCSO Billing said that the message was still clear: Use it or lose it… again.

The Looe re-opening is part of Ms Hernandez’s £1.5-million project to bring face-to-face policing back to communities.

She said: “It cannot be under-estimated how important these stations will be to our communities. At a time when confidence in policing is in the spotlight, giving people the chance to speak in person to a friendly face can only be a good thing. 

“They can not only report a crime, but also get crime prevention advice and information on victim support services.

“We know there are many reasons why people want to speak to someone in person; we have seen an example where a victim of sexual violence has only reported it because they could come to an enquiry office. 

“And you only have to look at the reaction to recent plans to close railway station ticket offices to see what it means to the public, especially those who are older or more vulnerable.”

Ms Hernandez has already visited Looe, where she met the neighbourhood inspector who is working in hand with local authority members and “taking decisive action to tackle shoplifting which is causing a real problem to small businesses in the town.”

She added: “To be able to invest extra resources in this town, in the form of police enquiry officers who will be on hand to talk to shopkeepers about this problem and to present police with intelligence about the culprits, will really help to keep this as a low crime neighbourhood.”

Unfortunately, though, the Looe ‘front office’ will still not have a dedicated ’phone line; instead people will have to continue using the national 101 contact number.

That service was heavily criticised by the Widegates meeting with people generally expressing their disappointment with the time it took to get someone to answer. The 101 facility was described as both ‘useless’ and ‘pretty dire’ by members of the public.

In a reference to the speed of vehicles travelling through Widegates village, CPSO Billing said that it was unlikely a traffic speed control system, such as road humps, could be installed because it was an ‘A’ road.

But he did think that the work of the new Community Speedwatch group would help by assisting the Police and the Highways authority in monitoring the number of drivers who ignored the existing 30-mph speed limit.

He also appealed for more parish volunteers to help the Speedwatch group, repeating his view that it could help assist traffic speed management plans for the village in the long term.

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FACE-TO-FACE: Police Community Support Officer Dave Billing, the officer responsible for Morval Parish, is now planning regular ‘surgeries’ to which members of the public will be invited to express their views of policing matters