Search

Nine months in the making: Police contact point finally opens in Hampstead

13:00 07 March 2014

Sgt Ryan Keating opens the new Hampstead contact point at the Old Hampstead Town Hall. Picture: Dieter Perry

Sgt Ryan Keating opens the new Hampstead contact point at the Old Hampstead Town Hall. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

It has suffered countless setbacks and was almost scuppered by an embarrassing wrangle over £30 – but Hampstead’s new police contact point is finally up and running.

Old Hampstead Town HallOld Hampstead Town Hall

The long-awaited drop-in centre launched on Thursday at the Old Hampstead Town Hall, Haverstock Hill, some nine months after it was first promised following the closure of century-old Hampstead police station last June.

Officers will now be stationed there three times per week, ready to receive any members of the public who want to discuss matters of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The first session was hosted by Sgt Ryan Keating, of the Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhoods team, who had been tasked with finding the perfect location for the contact point.

“It’s a relief it’s open and running now,” he said. “Ever since the police station closed, we have told the community we will open this contact point, but there have been a few bureaucratic hurdles.”

The Metropolitan Police Service has been criticised over its laboured attempts to set it up. First there were doubts about many of the options, with officers themselves voicing concerns about teaming up with Starbucks, which had offered space, because of the coffee giant’s reputation for tax avoidance. Then after the old town hall – a prominent site just 500 yards from the closed police station – was finally chosen as the perfect spot, the plans were almost thwarted at the last minute over a weekly fee of just £30.

The fee was to cover the costs of a charity that manages the building, but police bosses were concerned about setting a London-wide precedent that would lead to a big bill for contact points across the capital.

Critics were aghast that the Met was refusing to dip into its pockets over such a paltry sum – especially as the Hampstead police station site is expected to fetch millions when sold.

But after the Ham&High intervened by offering to raise the money, and then brought the matter to the attention of Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the Met swiftly approved the outlay.

Sgt Keating added: “Now everything is finally in place, we’re hopeful it’s going to be a success.

“It’s an opportunity for people to speak to police face-to-face if they want some advice or to speak about a crime. It’s all well and good being able to report crimes on the internet or on the phone, but from an engagement point of view, I would always prefer to be speaking face-to-face.”

n The contact point is open on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7 to 8pm and Saturday afternoons from 2 to 3pm.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Lara Casalotti

A year ago, Belsize Park student Lara Casalotti was in desperate need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

09:57
The crash in England's Lane                Picture: Francoise Lamouche

A car crashed and flipped over in Belsize Park last night.

Yesterday, 17:49
Nazanin with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

West Hampstead mum Nazanin has finally seen a specialist for her back and neck, who said that without urgent treatment she could run the risk of permanent impairment

Yesterday, 13:14
Gakleen Shahata

Police are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of a deaf woman with learning difficulties after she went missing from a church in Golders Green.

Yesterday, 12:50
The new community centre designed by architects RCKa

The director of a community centre in Highgate Newtown is celebrating his services being saved - thanks to private

Yesterday, 11:37
The Magic Paintbrush will be performed at Jacksons Lane

A Highgate multi-arts venue has announced its spring season and it is bursting at the seams with shows for all the family.

Friday, February 17, 2017
Professor Emma Morris in her laboratory at the Royal Free. Photo: Anna Behrmann

Anna Behrmann speaks to Professor Emma Morris, part of a team of researchers who are genetically modifying patients’ immune cells to find tumours and kill them

Friday, February 17, 2017
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Haringey's cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Photo: Nigel Sutton

An overseas developer has been confirmed for Haringey’s plans to privatise large swathes of council estates and land - as legal action is launched and hundreds waved colourful signs in protest

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now