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Police banished from own contact point in Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 November 2014

Sgt Ryan Keating opening the Hampstead contact point at the Old Hampstead Town Hall earlier this year. Picture: Dieter Perry

Sgt Ryan Keating opening the Hampstead contact point at the Old Hampstead Town Hall earlier this year. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Is there anything that has caused more embarrassment for the Met than police contact points in recent times?

These are the new police drop-in centres that are manned three hours per week, introduced as a sop to communities angry about losing their stations and front counters.

Recall the tale of Hampstead’s contact point. After spending months scouting for a location before settling upon Old Hampstead Town Hall in Haverstock Hill, Camden officers were understandably miffed when Scotland Yard tried to pull the plug over a paltry £30 weekly fee for the premises.

Meanwhile, the former Hampstead Police Station was being sold off for millions.

The Ham&High offered to pay the £30 before taking the matter to Boris Johnson – whereupon the funds suddenly appeared.

And it seems the shambolic saga is trundling on. Officers have now been forced to stand outside the building to receive members of the public in the street – hardly the ideal forum for reporting crime or anti-social behaviour.

Apparently one of its three hours a week clashes with a counselling programme in the same building – and officers have been banished because their presence was unsettling those attending the sessions.

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