Kevin: "Police offices have transformed attitudes"
1:06pm Friday 30th May 2014 in News
The leader of Carmarthenshire county council has added his voice to those urging the retention of police offices in the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys.
Last week, the Guardian reported how councillors Alun Davies and Peter Cooper had expressed fears that the venues – where officers are available to meet members of the community – at Bancyddraenen in Capel Hendre and Ysgol y Bedol in Garnant faced the axe.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon confirmed that both the offices had been “under review” as part of an ongoing strategy assessment, but refused to be drawn on the future of individual centres until his report was completed.
“I am not in a position to discuss individual sites right now, but will do so once this strategy is formulated,” Mr Salmon said.
However, the Guardian understands that neither of the Bancyddraenen and Ysgol y Bedol offices is under threat.
Now, council leader Kevin Madge has also called on the commissioner to safeguard the offices.
Cllr Madge was involved in the original establishment of the Ysgol y Bedol office and claims the centre has played a massive role in changing attitudes and behaviour towards crime and anti-social behaviour.
“These offices are vitally important,” said Cllr Madge.
“They have provided a police presence in the area and have transformed the way people think about the police and the way they interact with officers.
“There has been a massive reduction in crime in the Amman Valley and this is down to the fact that the office is in the school - it allows youngsters to get to know their local officers from a very early age.
“That changes the way they think about dealing with the police.
“Thanks to the fantastic work of officers like Steve Morris in Garnant and the Police Community Support Officers, kids are no longer afraid to have a dialogue with the police.
“Vandalism, certainly in the way we used to experience it in the valley, has all but disappeared.”
Cllr Madge said the positive impact of the offices provided a model for community policing and multi-agency projects.
“The offices are a great example of partnership working between the county council and the police,” he said.
“They have shown how joined-up working really does work.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the presence of officers in Ysgol y Bedol has transformed attitudes and behaviour and made a huge difference to the community.”
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