PUBLISHING neighbourhood policing officers' mobile phone numbers and increasing the number of mobile police stations are among the proposals being worked on to replace front office facilities, a Gwent police authority meeting heard.

Chief Superintendent Paul Symes presented a report to the meeting which showed that between May and June, a total of 29 ‘Ask the public’ events were held by Gwent police to get the public’s views about the upcoming closure of front desks at all but five of Gwent Police’s stations.

The closures of front desk facilities, due to come into force next week, are expected to save £500,000.

Chief Supt Symes said the public consultation exercise saw 1,220 questionnaires completed.

During the event, the telephone was named as the preferred way to communicate with police with 72 per cent choosing the option.

When given a choice of alternative options of communicating with police, 63 per cent chose mobile police stations, 60 per cent chose publishing officer’s mobile phone numbers while 52 per cent chose visiting a shared community location such as one-stop-shops.

Chief Supt Symes said an additional mobile police station has already been approved for November and after that there will be a review for the need of any more.

Regular timeslots will also be looked at so residents are aware when a mobile police station, which costs £66,000, is in their area.

Priority is also being given to supplying neighbourhood policing teams with personal Blackberry mobile phones and publishing their numbers.

Other projects being worked on include continuing to develop shared community venues such as one stop shops, placing information signs outside police stations by August and introducing the website ‘Track my crime’ to Gwent police which will allow victims of crime to obtain updates.

Chairwoman re-elected at last meeting

Cilla Davies was re-elected as chairwoman of the Gwent Police Authority at the authority’s annual general meeting.

The AGM was the last one to be held by the authority as the governance of policing in Gwent is transferred to a Police and Crime Commissioner in five months’ time.

Mrs Davies who has been an authority member since 2001 and is now in her sixth year as chair described the role as a "privilege".