UK

Mobile Police Stations Are Not Being Used, Are The Days Of Going Into A Cop-Shop Over?

10/02/2014 15:36 GMT | Updated 10/02/2014 15:59 GMT
Peter Dazeley via Getty Images

Kent Police Federation has urged police to "find a better way to use resources" after statistics revealed Mobile Police Stations – set-up in libraries, car parks, garden centres and village stores – attracted an average of just 0.5 visitors every hour.

The pop-up police stations, manned by PCSOs in 180 rural locations across the county, have attracted only 1,308 visits since their inception in July last year.

Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, said the use of the mobile police contact points needs to be reviewed.

"The reality is nobody is using them. The time comes when you have to review a decision and find a better way to use the resources," Mr Pointon told HuffPost UK.

Some 1,555 police contact point sessions have been held since the initiative was introduced and Pointon believes the days of people going in to front counters at police stations are over.

“Thirty years ago we used to get a regular flow of people coming to speak to us or ask for directions but now people are more likely to use the phone of check online.”

Paul Busbridge, manager of Hawley Garden Centre in Dartford, which had one of the mobile police units in its car park last week, said: "It's nice to see police taking an active part in the community and it lets the public know they are trying to meet their needs."

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who introduced the mobile stations as one of her manifesto pledges, hit back at the statistics and said the pop-ups are a "valuable and dynamic community asset".

“There was no cost in buying the mobile police stations and they are offering a police presence out in communities, increasing foot patrols,” said the Commissioner.

“It’s true to say that there was a somewhat slow start but I am confident the right changes are now in place and they are fast becoming a valuable and dynamic community asset.”

A number of changes to improve performance are planned in the coming months, with a focus on crime hotspot areas, night-time deployment and increased foot patrols according to the commissioner.