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Mobile police stations launched by crime commissioner Ann Barnes in Kent poorly attended, report reveals

04 February 2014
by Paul Francis
A report on a trial of mobile police stations across the county has revealed they have largely been ignored by the public - with some so poorly attended no one turned up at all.
Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes unveiled the scheme last summer, saying they would help address the perception in some areas that police were often not around.
A report being presented to the Kent and Medway Crime Panel today shows the mobile stations - also known as police contact points - made 1,555 visits, but overall attracted just 1,308 visitors.
Ann Barnes with police chiefs and council dignitaries at a mobile police contact points launch

Ann Barnes with police chiefs and council dignitaries at a mobile police contact points launch

In a handful of cases, no one at all turned up to the stations and in many just one person did during the 90-minutes visits.
The stations are manned by police community support officers and at the time they were launched, crime commissioner Ann Barnes said they would offer reassurance to communities.
"They will be used," she said. "They are there to work in communities. They will go regularly around the county.
"They'll be going mainly to fairly isolated rural communities, because it was very obvious to me very early on that there are a lot of communities, particularly our rural communities, who feel quite isolated from the police."
Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes

Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes

But an analysis shows a disappointing response among members of the public and a report states the force is "working towards a number of changes which will give the project a new look and make it more responsive to community needs".
It says the scheme will continuWhat do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments belowe and a dedicated 15-strong team of PCSOs are being trained to run it from April.
"Experience has shown that some of the locations do not attract sufficient visitor numbers so new routes will be created... the emphasis will be on visible patrol when there are no visitors to the PCP [Police Contact Point]."
It also says the stations will also visit towns as well as rural villages and could operate seven days a week.
The vehicles currently operate from Wednesdays to Sundays including daytime, evenings and weekends.
Mrs Barnes said: "I firmly believe that you cannot measure how successful the mobile police stations are by statistics alone.
"There was no cost in buying the mobile police stations and they are offering a police presence out in communities, increasing foot patrols." 

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