Front desk to reopen to public at Honiton Police Station

A public-facing front desk will be reopened at Honiton Police station in the next year, Devon and Cornwall’s crime tsar has announced.  

The facility at the High Street hub is one of 17 being re-established across both counties as part of a £1.5million investment.

No police enquiry offices (PEO) are currently accessible to the public in East Devon.

However, Exmouth Police Station is being rebuilt to include a functioning front desk.

The enquiry office at Honiton is one of six that will return by April 2024 and will be accessible six days a week.

A swathe of front desks fell victim to public sector cuts following the 2009 financial crisis.

Eleven across Devon and Cornwall shut their doors to the public in 2014 – although police stations remained in use as operational bases.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has made ‘connectivity with the public a cornerstone’ of her plans.

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 anti-social 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.”

She added: “There is an immediate positive effect of having these stations back open to the public for these communities.

“But this is more than that – it’s about making a long-term commitment to the people of Devon and Cornwall. We want to let them know that the police are by their side, accessible and care about their problems.”

Stations will be reopened to the public in Honiton, Devonport, Looe, Ilfracombe Okehampton and Kingsbridge in the next 12 months.

Another four PEOs – at locations yet to be confirmed – will be reopened by April 2026.

Enquiry offices have already been reopened in Newquay, Penzance, Falmouth, Truro, Bude, Tiverton, and Newton Abbot.

The new additions will take the the total number of PEOs across the force area to 26.

Police station front desks being re-established across Devon and Cornwall. Image: OPCC

Police station front desks being re-established across Devon and Cornwall. Image: OPCC

Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “I am delighted we are able to reopen these offices. I believe that providing the public with opportunities to speak to the police face-to-face is essential to building trust and confidence in our communities.

“Coming after a time of isolation as a result of the global pandemic, the reopening of these public enquiry desks represents a reconnection with our communities; we are reopening our doors and providing a safe place for anyone to be able to come to us and ask for help.

“Public enquiry offices are incredibly important – they increase our accessibility, provide reassurance and help in building trust in our communities.”

Twenty-four new police enquiry officer posts have been created this year and more staff will be recruited as stations are reopened, according to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“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,” said a spokesperson.

East Devon MP Simon Jupp earlier this year launched a campaign to reopen another police station in the district –  either in Sidmouth, Honiton or Ottery St Mary.

He said: “This is great news for Honiton and surrounding communities in East Devon.

“I am really pleased our Police and Crime Commissioner heard my call and the town’s police front desk will reopen later this year.

“The decision means residents in the east of the district will be able to access a local police station and follows my successful campaign to ensure Exmouth’s new police station will be open to the public.

“I will meet with Chief Constable Will Kerr in the coming weeks to discuss future plans for policing across East Devon.”

Honiton does not currently sit within Mr Jupp’s constituency.

East Devon MP campaigns to open station front desks in Sidmouth, Honiton or Ottery St Mary – calling for ‘accountable and accessible’ policing

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