Retailers in London may experience an increased police presence thanks to a new plan that could see stations set up in stores.
The draft Police and Crime Plan, developed by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, has proposed setting up ‘crime prevention desks’ and ‘police bureaus’ in high street locations such as stores and post offices. The scheme has been put forward to compensate for the 65 police stations that have been earmarked for closure.
Mark Simmons, the deputy assistant commissioner for the Met Police, insisted the proposals would not lead to a drop in service. “Our plan is to make sure the under-used front counters are replaced with at least three new contact points and we will put those in place before we make any closures,” he said.
“It may be at a place where we know lots of people go, maybe a supermarket or library, with a time that’s advertised when a cop is there from the local neighbourhood who can deal with particular questions people have,” added Simmons. “If they want to report crime they can do that, if they want to talk about problems they’re experiencing in their street or estate they can do that because they aren’t coming to police stations to do it at the moment, not right across London.”
Several independent retailers have previously seen success in cutting down crime by providing space in their store for the local police force to do work in or hold community meetings. Spar Pike Hill in Burnley saw a massive reduction in anti-social behaviour when the local PCSO started holding weekly workshops in the store.