Local people in Bude and Stratton are delighted that their Police station has now reopened its public enquiry desk. The station was closed to public access under the previous Liberal Democrat MP but it has been brought back by Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, with the support of North Cornwall’s Member of Parliament Scott Mann. We’ve worked very hard to reopen Bude Police Enquiry Office for people in the local area. I know from conversations with constituents on the door that this is something people in Bude and Stratton really wanted and they’re very happy it has been brought back. It is very important that people, especially vulnerable individuals, can go directly to the police if they need assistance. I really appreciate how hard Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has worked on this, both in Bude and across the entire Devon and Cornwall area.
A total of 17 front desks are being reopened under the project, taking the total number of PEOs across the force area to 26. The force was among those to close ‘front desks’ during public sector cuts following the 2009 financial crisis. Across Devon and Cornwall, 11 shut their doors to the public in 2014, although the stations remained in use as operational bases. The Police Enquiry Office (PEO) in the popular Cornish resort of Newquay was the first to be reopened, in 2020. The Commissioner officially reopened the PEOs in Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Penzance, Falmouth, Truro and Bude this weekend and there are plans to open a further four PEOs between April 2024 and April 2026. So far £1.5m has been earmarked for investment in the project.
It is of great concern to people in North Cornwall that 45,000 people illegally crossed the English Channel in small boats last year, putting pressure on local public services and abusing our laws and asylum protections to remain here. Many of those arriving in small boats originate from safe countries and travel through safe countries to skip the queue. That is unfair on those who come here legally and unfair on the British people who play by the rules – that is why the Prime Minister made stopping small boats one of his five priorities. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have already delivered the largest ever small boats deal with France; a new agreement with Albania so the vast majority of Albanian illegal migrants are sent home; a new, permanent, unified Small Boats Operational Command with 700 new staff; tougher immigration enforcement; a tighter system for processing modern slavery claims; and a plan to clear the initial asylum backlog by the end of 2023 and move migrants out of expensive hotels. But we need to go further – doing everything we can to tackle this issue. As part of my role in Government, I will be helping to bring this important legislation through the House. Not only do I support these ambitious measures, but I’m confident that most people in North Cornwall also agree.