Following Boris Johnson’s decision to close three police stations in Westminster, the Mayor promised they would be replaced with an ‘equivalent or better service’ and opened five police contact points in their place.
It was previously reported that an internal Met review found each contact point in London was used by an average of just 1.3 people each week and “do not appear to offer particularly good value for money”. It also said that the geographic location, the opening times and the ‘look and feel’ of contact points were under question.
A detailed review of the contact points was promised in July 2014 but to date nothing has been released by the Metropolitan Police. When questioned about their effectiveness last July 2014 Boris Johnson dismissed concerns saying “contact points are not being used in quite the way that they perhaps could be, but that perhaps is a fault of lack of publicity or whatever.”
When the Mayor made plans to close three police stations in Westminster and replace them with contact points, he promised an ‘equivalent or better’ service. Yet many of the public are completely unaware of their existence and even the Met have questioned their value for money.
I do not rule out contact points potentially having a place in modern policing, but there are clear issues with the way they are currently operating, with some appearing little more than token gestures. They need to be better publicised so that people know they are there, better able to meet the needs of local people, and provide a private setting so victims can speak confidentially with officers.
There are some sensitive crimes people are less likely to want to report over the phone. Unless the public know about these contact points and have the confidence they can discuss their concerns in a confidential setting, many of these crimes may go unreported.
We’ve been waiting almost a whole year now for improvements; it’s time people in Westminster saw action to make contact points fit for purpose.”