back to article Met plan moves police to out of town megabases

London is poised to move on to the next iteration of virtualising its policing, following the publication of the first of a series of consultations on police basing requirements in the capital. The plans effectively place community support officers, aka 'Blunkett's Bobbies' as the primary 'customer interface' for policing in …


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  1. Peter Ingram

    Some things should not be changed.

    "Small safer neighbourhood teams ........ will operate from high street bases"

    Just like banks used to. Then will come call centres in Asia to report your crime to.

  2. Onion

    our 5 year plan

    Sounds just like the government plans for the NHS - close GP surgeries/ hospitals and shepherd everyone into polyclinics (last seen in failing Eastern European healthcare systems). Remove doctors from frontline clinical care and replace them with noctors (nurse practitioners, emergency care practitioners, medical care practitioners, pharmacy care assistants etc.)

    No doubt the system will cost twice as much, kill twice as many and make a killing for the privileged few private contractors/ PFI merchants that have the ear of this government.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Access to holding cells

    I don't have a problem with the rozzers getting a new crib with decent centralised facilities and road links. And the idea of high street "Cop Shop"s is, I think, sound. Couple of caveats though:

    The Community Support Officers in the "Safer Neighbourhood Teams" have to have actuall full-bore police officer support as part of their team.

    If the holding cells are colocated with the local HQ building and that is closed to the public, how are detainees to receive their legal representation? Or the visit from their relative bearing bail? Or have I been watching too many TV shows?

  4. Dave

    Why not spread them out?

    Instead of having maybe a hundred or so people working in once police station, take a normal house in a street/estate and have 2 or 3 coppers basing themselves there - then people can just pop round if they have a problem, they're nearby.

    In this day, communicating with the central office wouldn't be a problem so they can still go about their day to day jobs, admin staff and whatnot, plus probably booking and cells could remain cetralled somewhere.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like how

    I like how this community policing bollocks done by do gooding numptys shall take place mostly during daylight... becouse that's when most crime happens.

    Needs a sarcasm icon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Faster response times?

    How will this create faster response times? How will it be quicker for the police to arrive from their new central station in the middle of a borough than it was to arrive from a station on the nearest high street?

    Or is the point that as we continue the march towards a police state the police won't be required to go anywhere as they can monitor everything everyone does remotely via CCTV and the internet. The police won't bother coming to arrest you personally, they will just contact you and invite you for a nice cup of tea - in room 101.

  7. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: I like how

    A local example I'm aware of. The problem: knife-point muggings of young people at a particular bus stop, often around 11.30pm as they come home from the pub. The solution: increased community police officer visibility, plus community liaison officer showing up at local community meetings to explain that said community police officers clock off at 8pm. Crime problem? Quick, send out for some more press releases... (-:

  8. Tim
    Thumb Down


    I can't help imagining that the the friendly neighbourhood bobbies will be deemed too expensive once the warehouse becomes forgotton. Thereby the industrial estates that have the money and the power will get the protection and yet the working classes in the estates will be left to the mercy of the criminals.

  9. Sampler
    IT Angle


    "The infrastructure of both of these police stations can no longer support the latest IT and communications technologies vital to effective operational policing in the 21st Century"

    Because it's hard to lay a bit of CAT5/e/6 in an old building? Unless they mean the thick walls impede wireless connections - which they shouldn't really be using anyway...

    (IT Angle used as it seems they don't have)

  10. The Cube

    More evidence that the Police are for the Government not the People

    This simply highlights that the role of the Police Farce in the UK is now to control the population as directed by the government. We are all now to be seen as potential terrorists or Brian Haws unless we can prove otherwise from our complete surveillance record and biometric identification.

    This approach simply formalises that the Police are there to control the population on behalf of the government and the large commercial interests who 'donate' to them. As long as we are good little consumer sheep we 'have nothing to hide and nothing to fear', as soon as your surveillance database record diverges from 'normal' or 'desirable' behaviour a snatch squad will be sent from a 'patrol base', guided in real time by facial recognition on pervasive CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition, real time monitoring of your Oyster card and credit card transactions (once the NIR is used by banks the Govt will see the transactions) and active tracking of your mobile phone. Feel like Will Smith in 'enemy of the state' yet?

    I don't blame the Scottish and Welsh for wanting independence from this police state, George Orwell was well short of the plans of Jack 'Boot' Straw and his ilk in government. How about we get honest about the United Kingdom and call it the English Democratic Republic and call our Police the Stasi?

  11. Big_Boomer

    High Visibility Thursdays

    Is it me or do all the cops in the South East only come out on Thursdays?

    Ever since the 7 July bombings I see loads of cops around the Docklands area and during my commutes on Thursdays than on all the other days of the week put together.

    As for the Police Getaways,... err sorry "Centralised Facilities", well, they are now paid to fill out forms and do the bureaucratic shuffle so may as well relocate them to some cheap industrial estate somewhere and leave them to it.

    The last time I saw cop in my home town was after I reported some thugs vandalising a fence. I've not seen a foot-plod since then but have resolved the issue with the fence after introducing myself to said teen-thugs whilst being in the middle of cleaning a 5Kg three foot long motorcycle fork leg.

    It seems they are more scared of the "Scary Biker Bloke" than they are of the Police.

  12. Hedley Phillips


    It just gets worse.

    Inreased visibility is THE BEST crime prevention tool.

    What we are going to get is out of town superstations next to MFI and B&Q. No police on the streets and criminals rampaging round the streets knowing they have 30 minutes to walk away before the police battle their way through the traffic/find the place as they are no longer local and then go back as the crims have gone.

  13. Pete Silver badge

    isn't that how they do it in Iraq?

    Large bases that the public aren't allowed in, away from the trouble areas. And have a force of "locals" actually plodding the streets. Who says the govt. never learns.

    All we need to do is increase the number of armed officers and replace their hats with berets and you'll be there.

  14. Steve Browne

    Those who think they have nothing to hide

    At least you will know where to go. The large warehouse complex containing all those 90 day terrorist suspect, hidden away on an industrial estate. These place already exist, or something remarkably similar.

    There is the Yarls Wood Immigration Detention Centre, were the government incarcerates dangerous women and children pending their removal form the UK. Where international criticism has been brought to bear because the UK government is imprisoning children for not committing an offence. They just happened to accompany their parents to a land of freedom and democracy. It must be a really and truly horrible shock to these poor people to arrive in a land blessed with freedom and democracy only to be taken to a far off place and locked up with no recourse to justice.

    The police, seeing how these things work, felt jealous and, filled with envy, are now making their own plans to have similar prisons^H^H^H^H^H^H police stations and prevent anyone getting in who may find out what they do.

    I despair of the direction in which we are heading.

    Searching people with no reputation for carrying weapons does not reassure anyone, it pisses off the people who are being searched. When you are constantly accused of misbehaviour there is a tendency to misbehave, why?, because you are getting blamed for it anyway, or at least accused of it.

    Will we ever survive the damage of new labour ? or are we doomed to traipse along behind the americans and head for Neo Stasi solutions to non existent problems.

  15. michael


    Since this is the supermarket model why not simply let the supermarkets do the policing ? A few flasing blue lights on the delivery vans, make the staff wear helmets and you have a fully functioning police force.

    you may even get some respone (if you are in the loyalty scheme) next time you get burgled AND get your shopping delivered at the same time.

    That idea sounds about as sensible!

  16. michael

    inverted escape from new york

    why stop at the borough level - just put ALL the police on an island, build a wall around it and bobs your uncle, compeletey safe!

  17. Matthew

    Barbed wire

    General Sir Peter de la Billiere always said that the key to controlling an area was to get the squaddies out from behind the barbed wire of their compounds and out into the streets. Makes quite a contrast to the Plods who have decided to retreat behind their CCTV and ANPR and ceed control of the streets to the anti-social/criminal. This is just a further step in the same direction.

  18. Jeff Deacon

    Another nail in the coffin of Great Britain as we knew it

    I think The Cube has plenty of good solid points.

    The Police Senior Management have completely lost sight of Sir Robert Peel's Principles of Policing, and are indeed behaving much more like an army of occupation. Working once in an office on a London High Street, I spent far too much time looking out of the window, noticing that the police never went anywhere except on Blues and Twos. A move such as described in this article will only reinforce that feeling of estrangement. I also hear calls for the "replacement and modernisation" of Paddington Green police station, the one used for anti-terrorist investigations. What is the betting that all these new out of town bunkers will be fortresses providing solid defence against terrorists and against irate crowds of citizens when they awake to what has been done in their name. No wonder it will be a virtual consultation!

    But then it had to come, as part of the "harmonisation" of the legal systems throughout the EU. Britain and Ireland were the only Common Law countries in the EU, the rest relying on derivations of Napoleonic law, in which everything not expressly permitted is forbidden, and where the police are definitely a (paramilitary) force for the government to use to enforce its will on the citizens. I can't remember the scheme, but there is some EU "largesse" for nations with paramilitary police forces. So I have no doubt that the Met Senior Management Team are in fact reorganising themselves in order to benefit from the handouts.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    For all the good they are .....

    We may as well just save the money, do away with them and recruit a bunch of untrained amateurs to go round throwing their weight around.

    Ah isn't that nearly where we are now, might as well go the whole hog.

  20. Steve

    Not all bad

    Given that I've been stopped and hassled by the police way more often than by scary teenagers in hoodies, this might make my life easier.

    At least when they are holed up in their out of town fortresses only venturing out for baton practice on some poor sap it'll be easier to get the average middle class house owner to see what's going on.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Let's just take it all the way...

    So the Metropolitan police think that hiding most the coppers in warehouses is a good idea - because of course they'll be able to get to crimes quicker when they're further away from them!

    The worrying thing is that what happens with the Met often then filters out to other forces. As I remember there was talk of various police forces merging - I think they're still talking about it.

    So in the end we will end up with one Police force for the whole of England (Scotland and Wales will opt out as usual) and then there will be one massive warehouse near London (say Milton Keynes) for the south, one near Manchester for the north. Of course the police will say this is OK as technology is as good as a copper on the beat - and we all know how true that is!

    Wait until they find a way to put tazers on CCTV lamposts along with a megaphone!

    Paris icon used because she could probably do a better job than these idiots (even if she has the IQ of a baby ant)! Sorry ants!

  22. Luther Blissett

    Institutionalizing the hyperreal

    Hyperreal policing has existed for several years. This move brings the real and concrete into line with the established hyperreality. And it will be concrete. And barbed wire fences where the police can feel really (?) safe from the public, who might just turn up to ask where real policing has gone to.

    Meanwhile HMG treats laws as publicity stunts, new ones to be unveiled to consuming journos every month, but thereby bringing the principle of Law into disrepute, and slackening on the pursuit of large-scale crimes such as fraud, while promoting "community" efforts against dropping fag ends, leaving dustbins on the pavement for longer than someone likes.

    Meanwhile HMG treats communities as hyperreal abstractions, inventing new ones as publicity stunts to be unveiled to consuming journos every month, but thereby destroying communities and community spirit, closing pubs and bingo halls with specious fears about passive smoking and promoting "community" efforts against dropping fag ends, and favouring community-by-tower-block, or community-by-secure-housing, where it apparently matters less that you talk to your neighbours but that you have some abstract attribute in common, as if simply being old enough to be retired gives you anything in common with the person next door.

    Meanwhile HMG treats policing as a hyperreal abstraction, for consuming journos (you're getting the picture now), manufactured by inverting and inflating some element of reality, and after a lull to see if the kite flies, destroying the reality. Roads need policing, say? Speed cameras in. Hyperreal distortion of the results. Elimination of traffic police. Now try fraud. Try real terrorism.

    Deceit by conceit. And by a mistaken rationalist sociological positivism which is continuing to obsess our "leaders" (another hyperreal concept) as never before in their pursuit of a NAU or a EU. But then the sociological positivism is also a hyperreal delusion.

    Before being disgusted, be amazed.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Warning - Incoming rant

    When I grew up the police were a source of comfort. They were there to help and were always there when we needed help.

    This latest announcement is an admission of what things have become. It is an admission that the police are no longer here to help us and keep us safe; Fob the people off with some numpty PCSO, protecting them from crime and violence isn't real policing after all. It is an admission that the only time your average member of the public will come into contact with them in the future is when they are enforcing the Government's will on the people or when you have to try and prove you didn't commit the crime you're suspected of. It is an admission that the police now realise the people will come to regard them as enemies rather than friends. It will further alienate previously law-abiding citizens from the law and we will all reap the the consequences.

    Congratu-****ing-lations Mr.Brown (and whichever puppet you have in the minister's seat.) You're creating a country the Nazi's would have been proud of. Hitler's Germany, Brown's Britain. "Show me your papers, sorry, ID Card.".. some difference... Anyone who's ever fought and died for this country must be turning in their grave right now. You dishonour everyone who has ever put on a uniform for our country and worn it with pride.

    I guess we'll all just sit here and watch our communities break down because nobody trusts their neighbours any more as they're all probably criminals, pedos or terrorists and belong on some register. All that will be left is a society where nobody goes out because they're besieged by antisocial chavs and burglars whilst the police are sitting in their bunkers waiting for some "real criminal" to think or say something non-PC.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Cops on the cheap

    It sounds suspiciously to me as if the trained coppers, that expect a decent salary, are being replaced by cheapo assistant coppers, while the pros, probably reducing in number once no one can see them, will supervise. As noted above, this is the same as the NHS' using "Nurse practitioners" instead of expensive doctors and also Education using "Teaching Assistants" to cover for trained teachers.

    Maybe we should have poorer paid "Politician Assistants" to run the country while the MPs go on long foreign trips at our expense , Soldier Assistants to risk getting nastily killed etc.

    We could even have Journalist Assistants to crib their stories from Wikepaedia.

  25. John Stag

    That's how it works in Spain

    In Spain we have the "Policia Local" (local police) who are like community police.

    Then there's the centralized "Guardia Civil" who handle the big jobs.

  26. Chris Cook


    This has to be the most categorically stupid thing I've heard in a long, long time.

    How much of an idiot do you have to be to even _suggest_ this as an idea.

  27. Steve

    @:That's how it works in Spain

    "In Spain we have the "Policia Local" (local police) who are like community police."

    Not quite the same. A Police Community Support Officer does not have powers of arrest and they are only allowed to detain you for 30 minutes - just make sure you commit your crimes further than thirty minutes from the giant cop warehouse.

    They are basically a cheap way to give the impression of a police presence - hence the nickname "Cardboard Coppers"

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's already here

    "The worrying thing is that what happens with the Met often then filters out to other forces."

    Not sure, but I think it was Carlisle, where I was rather surprised to discover that what I thought was a badly maintained charity shop was in fact the "police station". And, as it was 6:30pm and all the crims had gone home for their tea, it was closed.

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