L to R. Mark Shelford, Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner’; Sarah Crew, Chief Constable; Ruth Gawler, Bath Neighbourhood Inspector; Cllr Richard Samuel, Deputy leader of B&NES and Cabinet member for Economic Development and Resources; Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath; Cllr Dine Romero, B&NES Cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture; and Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of B&NES Council.
An official opening this morning for the re-vamped/enlarged/extended/more-obvious-looking Bath Police Station which is now seriously sharing equal space on the ground floor with the One Stop Shop in Manvers Street. That’s the bit offering housing, welfare and advice services.
Before we get to the official comments regarding this ‘improved police service’ can l just point out the irony of this facility being directly across the road from a building that was built especially as a city police station but then sold to Bath University. The city has been without a proper central presence for seven years.
You have to pick your way through ‘press releases’ to find the main points of information. The one from Avon and Somerset Constabulary tells us straight away that it is the Bath Neighbourhood Policing Team who are moving into a ‘newly-renovated station.’
This is the current way our police engage with the community. Online, l found a definition of what a neighbourhood officer does. It says he or she is ‘working as part of a neighbourhood policing team, to provide a presence that is accessible to, responsible for, and accountable to that community.‘
Here’s a bit more of that release:
‘Work has been carried out to the building over the past 6 months to improve the prominence of the Police Enquiry Office, Local Neighbourhood Policing Team, and the Foreign National Registration Service within the heart of Bath city centre. The newly refurbished Police Enquiry Office at Lewis House will now feature a traditional blue lantern on the front of the building to increase visibility and will be open to the public Monday – Thursday 0930-1700 and Friday 0930 – 1630 hours.
Neighbourhood Policing team Acting Chief Inspector Ruth Gawler, Avon and Somerset Police, commented: “The recently completed renovations at Lewis House provide our teams with a central base and an enquiry office which is at the heart of the local community. It is great news for local residents that the Neighbourhood Policing team are now based at Lewis house alongside our Enquiry Office as this will further improve accessibility and visibility for the residents of Bath, the surrounding communities and those visiting the area.”
Chief Constable Sarah Crew, Avon and Somerset Police, said: “I know how important it is for our residents to have a visible policing presence in the heart of their communities. Providing our Neighbourhood Police team greater visibility in Bath city centre is something we have been working towards for some time now and I am pleased that the Neighbourhood Policing team have this week joined their colleagues in the newly renovated facilities.
“Being located at Lewis House will not only allow the Neighbourhood Policing team to better engage with our communities but will also provide huge benefits in terms of enhancing partnership working and collaboration.”
Mark Shelford, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, said: “I’m so pleased that we’ve been able to re-establish a neighbourhood policing presence and enquiry office in the heart of Bath, right opposite the site of the old police station. It’s even better that the local neighbourhood police officers will be under one roof in a shared building with Bath and North East Somerset Council, making for more efficient and effective partnership working.
Meanwhile local Lib Dems – who make up the ruling party on B&NES – say today’s opening follows years of campaigning.
B&NES Cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, Councillor Dine Romero, commented:
“It has been a long journey to bring the Police Station back to Bath city centre, but I am delighted that we have been able to work with Avon & Somerset Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner to bring this about. This has been a high priority for our Council administration, and it’s taken a lot of hard work behind the scenes. The new Police Station will better meet the needs of the community.”
City centre Councillor Sue Craig added:
“We’re delighted to welcome the opening of the new, city centre Police Station on Manvers Street. Lib Dem councillors and Bath residents have been calling for the return of this facility for years.
“It’s testament to the hard work of the Lib Dem administration, who listened to the public and delivered on the agreement with Avon and Somerset Police.
“People need to know where they can go for help. Our argument has always been that a ‘proper’ Police Station must be in a central and prominent location, which residents and the city’s many visitors can find and access easily.”
MP for Bath Wera Hobhouse said:
“I’m delighted that the residents of Bath have been listened to and that we finally have our new Police Station open and ready to assist the public. Hats off to my colleagues from the Council who have worked hard with Avon & Somerset Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner to make this happen. Our campaign to bring back a city centre Police Station attracted support from thousands of local residents.”
How to contact Avon and Somerset Police in Bath
- Visit us – The newly refurbished enquiry office at Lewis House will be open Monday – Thursday 0930-1700 and Friday 0930 – 1630 hours (Closed Saturday/Sunday and Bank Holidays.)
- Call us – In a non-emergency call 101. In an emergency always call 999.
- Go Online – To report a crime or incident visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk for assistance