The number of Co-operative Group c-stores with integrated police offices could increase after the success of the first one, in south-east London.

Located in the Society’s store in Eltham, the police office was launched in partnership with the Metropolitan Police in April by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears. It accommodates a six-strong team of neighbourhood police officers.

According to Co-operative Group head of loss prevention Dave Pettitt, the success of the first office, which has boosted staff morale and eased anti-social behaviour problems in the area, has encouraged the company to explore the option of putting offices in two other London stores.

He said: “We’ve looked at two potential sites, which are in the early stages of development. However, if these were successful, we would look to expand it even further. “A police office requires 500sq ft, which means the bigger c-stores in our estate would be adequate. But we would have to balance the space taken up by the office and its safety benefits with the space lost to product lines.”

Pettitt also confirmed the Group was set to roll out the playing of classical music to combat groups of young people hanging around outside its outlets to a further 45 c-stores, after the initial success of the initiative at 15 sites. The music is said to irritate young people but not bother older shoppers.