PLANS to open a new police engagement hub in the centre of Wrexham have been welcomed.

Wrexham Inspector Luke Hughes confirmed the site, at the entrance to the Central Arcade, is in the process of being prepared for opening and will offer crime prevention advice, as well as a place to pop in and have a chat with officers.

The Inspector said: "It has been one of my ambitions to increase the visible presence of the police in the town centre for quite some time.

"Covid has caused all sorts of problems in terms of my plans since I have been here, but an opportunity has presented itself.

"There is a little coffee shop which has been empty for some time at the entrance of the Central Arcade, near the High Street.

"It is a really high footfall area and a very visible location - my ambition is to occupy that for three months.

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"There is going to be a cost implication to that, and this is public money. We already have a police station here, so I need to be sensible about that.

"But an amount of money has became available to me for engagement and I feel it's absolutely the right thing that we put a semi/permeant engagement hub there.

"The idea is that from 11am to 5pm, local neighbourhood officers will be there.

"More often than not, the door will be unlocked and you'll be able to pop in and have a conversation, say hello or ask us specific questions.

"The officers will also be there to give crime prevention advice, and we'll be up and down High Street so we will be there to support local businesses."

Insp Hughes said he collected the keys this week and is looking to prepare the unit in the coming days, with an aim to open it in the near future.

He said: "The money that has funded this hub has also been opened up to allow us to increase our presence on the ground through the summer months - so we will have officers on dedicated foot patrols in the evening, as well as the work we do in the day.

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"We hope to secure funding from other sources to enhanced that even further.

"I make no apologies for the lack of visibility of officers - we want to put them on the ground, but like any business we are staffed to have just enough.

"I want officers to be there - I want them to be visible, but if someone calls for immediate assistance to an incident, we have to be there."

Steven Vale, owner of Caroline's Viennese Patisserie in the Central Arcade, said: "I think it is a great idea - businesses will feel safer in the town and officers will be able to respond in a flash.

"It will improve the visibility of officers in areas around Hope Street and High Street, which is brilliant."