THE police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, officially opened a brand new police station in the heart of Caerphilly on Friday.

The station, which is located on Cardiff Road in a former mobile phone shop, opened to the public last month but was formerly opened on Friday.

Mr Cuthbert was joined by the new chief constable of Gwent Police Julian Williams, as well as Caerphilly County Borough Council leader David Poole, Caerphilly MP Wayne David and councillor James Pritchard.

The new station will be open to the public Monday to Friday from 9am to 1.30pm and 2pm to 5pm but it will be closed during weekends and bank holidays.

Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert said he is "determined to ensure that an accessible policing service is provided in Gwent which adequately responds to local need and provides assurance to the community."

He said: "It was part of my manifesto commitment that I would do my very best for the resources to make sure that throughout Gwent we had well-located police stations that serve to provide that type of reassurance and protection to local citizens.

"Because I was the former assembly member for Caerphilly I knew that there was a particular problem and people lobbied me straight away so I made this a priority. Caerphilly is the largest town in Gwent with Newport being a city, and it was just not acceptable for there not to be a police station of this type in the town."

During the opening, Mr Cuthbert also emphasised his commitment to work with key partners to deliver long-term sustainable improvements.

He also said a review of Gwent Police buildings will take place to see if they can be shared with other public bodies to keep more stations open.

The chief constable of Gwent Police, Julian Williams, added: “The opening of the station in Caerphilly gives us a real opportunity to engage with the public and provide a visible policing presence in Caerphilly Town centre.

"It will allow for members of the public to engage face to face with our staff if they want to discuss a policing problem.”

MP Wayne David said the station will benefit Caerphilly residents because it is located "in the heart of the town" and will bring back community policing.

Mr David said: "I think it will be a very real assurance for people, its physically in the centre and people are aware of its presence already. It will also provide real facilities for people and they can pop in easily. It's an inviting, welcoming place and it shows the police are part of the community."

Caerphilly council leader David Poole said: "As the leader of Caerphilly council I am very pleased that Gwent Police and the office of the PCC have listened to the demands and wishes of the local community. A town as big as Caerphilly desperately needs a police station where the public can go with their problems and complaints. I'd like to thank the chief constable and the commissioner for putting these facilities in the town."

Caerphilly Cllr James Pritchard said the station is a positive outcome for the town and will have many benefits.

He said: “Last year I launched a doorstep campaign with Cllr Shayne Cook and Cllr Shelly Hodder to get a police station in Caerphilly Town Centre. The campaign was met with unanimous backing from residents and we're glad the Police and Crime Commissioner has reacted positively to local opinion. The new station will bring policing closer to residents living in Caerphilly town and this is a good thing."

The town centre has been without a police station since January last year, when Gwent Police's Market Street base officially closed.