NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, May 9th, 2019.
North Wales Police have taken over a former school building for firearms training.
Officers will be using the old Rhos Street school site in Ruthin for the training but one community leader is unhappy about what she said was a lack of notice given to nearby residents.
The school shut in 2018 when it moved to another part of the town.
Since then the building has lain empty but for the next few weeks the site will see training inside the building on and on open fields.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Harrison said: “Firearms training is vitally important to keep the public safe.
We try to use numerous venues to make our training as realistic as possible so that officers are as well prepared as they can be.
We are only using this venue one day a week during daylight hours and will not be using live ammunition.
We are grateful as ever to those that provide the venues and also the local community, who will see an increased police presence and potentially some limited noise.
Our local PCSO and the training team have engaged with the community.
We are always happy to discuss concerns with any member of the community.”
The training has not involved real guns or live ammunition according to a post on the North Wales Police Conwy and Denbighshire Rural Facebook page.
But Clwyd West Labour parliamentary candidate, Jo Thomas, said residents had contacted her complaining that they had not been told what was happening at the site.
She said: “I’ve been contacted by residents who stated how shocked they were when they first heard the noise followed by the sight of armed police. I appreciate that our police need to be trained but is the best place for this in a disused school located in a residential area?
“There are a number of vulnerable people living in the proximity of this site. Who on earth would have given permission for this without even consulting with local residents before starting this exercise?”
Ruthin county councillor, Huw Hilditch-Roberts, did not see any problem with the exercise.
He said: “My understanding is the police have been liaising with residents and if there are any issues I am happy to take them forward. But I have not had anyone raise it with me.”
A spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said: “North Wales Police currently has a licence to use the site for training purposes.”
By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).