Cafes and supermarkets could become pop-up police stations

Dec 10, 2012

Mayor of London to look at radical proposal to save money by moving police station front counters

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SUPERMARKETS, libraries, a Costa Coffee outlet and even Tottenham Hotspur's football ground are being proposed as places where the public could go to report crime instead of traditional police station front counters.

The radical plan to create "pop-up police stations" across north London has been mooted in an effort to save money. But critics say it is ill-judged and culturally insensitive.

Craig Mackey, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, says that public use of many police station counters is too low to justify their cost. Counter closures are, he says, a necessary aspect of the Met's drive to make £500m in cuts as well as close a £233m funding gap.

Scotland Yard chiefs have been debating the "pop-up" proposal for the past six weeks and it will be considered in January by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, and Stephen Greenhalgh, his deputy for policing.

There are fears that victims will be less likely to come forward to such public locations. David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, told The Times: "This is not the environment in which you expect victims to be sharing the space with people drinking lattes. It's a serious public service that requires serious public premises."

In Golders Green, a mainly Jewish area of north-west London, a pop-up police station could be created at a neighbourhood base for two days a week including Saturdays – the Shabbat day in Jewish culture.

Andrew Dinsmore, the London Assembly member for Barnet, said: "It's hardly the most convenient days for Jewish people. It shows a degree of cultural insensitivity."

In October one chief constable told The Daily Telegraph that the police would have to rely increasingly on special constables and other civilian volunteers to help protect the public in the wake of budget cuts.

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Why don't we have policeman barrow boys selling hot dogs on every main road. People can report crime while they also make money selling hot dogs and burgers; profit going to police budget of course.