Honiton police station’s front desk will reopen in the next 12 months, according to Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Alison Hernandez has announced today (Friday, March 10) that Honiton’s police enquiry office is among six that will become operational again by April 2024. The others are in Okehampton, Ilfracombe, Plymouth Devonport, Kingsbridge and Looe.

In addition Exmouth’s police station is being rebuilt and will include a functioning front desk.

The force was among those that closed front desks during public sector cuts following the 2009 financial crisis. Across Devon and Cornwall 11 were shut to the public in 2014, although the stations remained in use as operational bases. 

The police enquiry office in Newquay was the first to be reopened, in 2020. This week the Commissioner and Chief Constable Will Kerr are reopening those in Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Penzance, Falmouth, Truro and Bude. There are plans to open a further four front desks between April 2024 and April 2026.  

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

The Commissioner said she has made connectivity with the public a cornerstone of her Police and Crime Plans, arguing that face-to-face contact with the public helps victims and provides a long-term solution to rebuilding confidence in policing. 

Ms Hernandez 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.”