Saturday, 1 March 2014

Bournemouth police box takes shape

A TARDIS-style police box aimed at cutting crime and anti-social behaviour in Bournemouth as well as acting as a tourist attraction is nearing completion.

As previously reported, police in Boscombe wanted to reintroduce police boxes, and a councillor has been calling for their return for a number of years. Now it is soon to become a reality, with Dorset Police saying a box will be up and running at the western end of the precinct in Christchurch Road this spring.

The police box will be regularly staffed during the day, offering help, advice and support. In addition, it will have a yellow phone attached to it via which the public can contact police at other times.

Based on the classic look that was created for the Metropolitan Police by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench in 1929, the steel box has been designed by James Roberts at Christchurch-based architect and design practice Anders Roberts Cheer. It will weigh more than two tonnes and be three metres high by 1.8 metres wide. The box is being built by AMK Industries, also of Christchurch, and has been paid for by local businesses and organisations.

Inspector Chris Weeks, whose policing responsibilities include the Bournemouth East neighbourhood, said:
The community voiced concerns regarding levels of crime and disorder in Boscombe precinct. Due to these concerns I considered an enhanced policing presence essential to reassure the public. The introduction of the police box will place an obvious policing footprint exactly where it is required.

The Boscombe police box is just one of a number of projects aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

It will provide a much-needed and alternative engagement point with the community and send a very clear message that the area is policed.
Boscombe Regeneration Partnership officer Sgt Chris Amey added:
Building a police box in Boscombe has been a lengthy project which began in May 2011 and has seen years of hard word, dedication and support to make it a reality. I would like to thank all those companies and organisations that have donated sponsorship - they are as keen as we are to help make a difference in Boscombe.

The police box will be staffed by police officers and police community support officers who will be able to help members of the public with any issues or concerns they may have, as well as reporting crime.
Jane Kelly, the cabinet member for partnerships and regeneration at Bournemouth Borough Council, said:
We welcome this exciting new initiative in Boscombe. Working together with the police, we are determined to drive down anti-social behaviour in Boscombe and boost regeneration. I fully support this initiative to maintain a regular police presence in the precinct area, acting as both a convenient information point for the public and also to provide reassurance to residents, businesses and visitors to the area.
Once a widespread sight in Britain, police boxes started being phased out in the 1960s with the rise of personal radios within the police force. Currently, the only other operational "Mackenzie Trench" police box in the UK is at Earl's Court in London, having been installed there in 1996.

The progress of the Boscombe police box can be checked by following Dorset Police on Twitter - hashtag #boscombepolicebox - and by visiting Dorset Police's Facebook page.