Police, fire and ambulance crews share Abertillery station

Police fire and ambulance services are working under one roof for the first time in the Gwent Police force area.

Abertillery fire station is now an “emergency services station” with ambulance crew, firefighters, police and community support officers (PCSOs).

Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Jeff Cuthbert said it would cut costs and give an “enhanced service”.

The first meeting between staff from the three services focused on reducing grass fires and arson in the area.

Station commander Mark Kift said collaboration with PCSOs was already making a difference with two long-standing issues.

“We’ve got a big issue in Abertillery with bin fires. They’re often put out but the fire service hasn’t necessarily been called to the scene,” he said.

“We can use our data and data from the police to compile a view of what we need to do and target our resources – the fire crime unit, more patrols.”

He said double parking on narrow valleys streets was also a problem and a hazard for fire engine crews.

“The police use their resource to move them for us for access of the fire appliances which wouldn’t happen if they weren’t here and that’s a massive thing for us.”

Insp Sarah Greening, who covers Blaenau Gwent, said the change had “massively cut out the bureaucratic process” when contacting other services or arranging meetings.

Abertillery police station closed several years ago due to budget cuts but the newly named facility features a police inquiry desk open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays.

Patsy Roseblade, deputy chief executive at the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, said the new agreement would benefit communities as well as achieving “operational efficiencies”.

It is believed the only other similar arrangement is in Queensferry, Flintshire, where the three services have been working from the same building.

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