Hollywood actor voices opposition to plans to close and sell-off Anglesey police station
Plans to close and sell-off an Anglesey police station have been unveiled, much to the disappointment of community leaders and even one Hollywood actor.
According to North Wales Police, the £7,500 annual running cost of Benllech Police Station is no longer viable given its “infrequent use,” with the PCSO working from the station having been moved to operate from Llangefni last year.
In a letter to the local Senedd Member, the Police and Crime Commissioner pointed out that there hasn’t been a public enquiry counter service at the station for a “significant number of years,” with plans to reinvest the income from its sale into the force’s estate.
But despite assurances that police plans to maintain a local presence by using the village library or fire station as a base for engaging with the public, and the need to keep pace with the “digital revolution,” the move has been condemned locally.
The island’s Senedd Member, Rhun ap Iorwerth, described the decision as “disappointing,” adding: “There has been no counter service there for some time, but the station’s presence in the community was important.
“Wales is the only nation in the UK without powers over its policing and justice systems, and this is another reminder of why we need those powers, so we can have the necessary levers and funding to create a police service with a strong presence in all of Wales’ communities.”
MP Virginia Crosbie added, “The local police have been incredibly helpful to me and my team since I became the MP and have involved me in local community events and always responded quickly and helpfully when my team contact them on behalf of my constituents.
“I understand that the decision has been made to ensure that public money is spent in the most appropriate way.
“I have been assured that the police will maintain a presence in another public building in Benllech so that they can continue to work closely with the community there.”
Local member, Ieuan Williams, added: “I have to question how an “ambitious transformative digital programme” allows “officers to remain visible within their communities”. Perhaps they plan to use holograms?!
“I am disappointed that this decision has been made, despite the direction of travel over recent years.
“Benllech is more than just a seaside village and is the biggest settlement on the island after the five towns.
‘The population usually trebles during the spring and summer months, up to an estimated 10,000.”
While in a tweet, Hollywood actor Julian Lewis Jones said he was “disappointed” at the announcement.
Having appeared in such films as Justice League and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, growing up in nearby Brynteg,
Benllech gyda phoblogaeth mawr yn enwedig dros yr haf. Newyddion drwg i’r gymuned
— Julian Lewis Jones (@JulesLewisJones) July 21, 2020
Julian tweeted: “Benllech gyda phoblogaeth mawr yn enwedig dros yr haf. Newyddion drwg i’r gymuned.” (Benllech has a big population, especially over the summer. Bad news for the community.)
In his letter, Commissioner Arfon Jones said that policing has “changed dramatically” over recent years, adding: “Officers are no longer sitting in conventional offices in police stations dealing with conventional crime.
“More and more officers need digital skills and equipment to enable them to provide a high quality service to the public. We need to keep pace with the digital revolution.
“North Wales Police has invested in an ambitious transformative digital programme of work which seeks to provide officers with the equipment they need to work in this digital context in a truly flexible and agile manner.
“Not only does this help to ensure that we continue to meet the expectations of the public and keep them safe from harm as a result of the ever increasing cyber threats, it also enables officers to remain visible within their
“This has huge benefits in improving community engagement both within our densely populated urban areas, as well as our harder to reach rural communities.
“The intention is to decommission the station on 30th September 2020 and then place the building on the open market very soon afterwards.”
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email email@example.com