Police to launch new contact point in Hampstead despite £30 fee

PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 January 2014

Ham&High editor Geoff Martin offers £30 to Sgt Ryan Keating outside the Old Hampstead Town Hall

Ham&High editor Geoff Martin offers £30 to Sgt Ryan Keating outside the Old Hampstead Town Hall

Dieter Perry

A new police drop-in centre is finally set to open in Hampstead – ending a saga that caused much embarrassment for the Metropolitan Police.

Officers are hoping to install a new “contact point” at the Old Hampstead Town Hall in Haverstock Hill by the end of the month, giving members of the public the chance to speak to police in person three times a week.

The contact point has been promised ever since Hampstead Police Station was closed last summer amid a raft of cuts by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.

Yet the plans were almost scrapped over a weekly fee of just £30 to use the old town hall. Wac Arts – the youth charity that runs the building – wanted the nominal sum to cover its costs.

The Met was concerned about setting a London-wide precedent that could lead to a big bill for contact points across the capital.

But after the Ham&High offered to raise the money, and brought the matter to the attention of Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the Met approved the outlay.

In a briefing on Friday, Insp Howard Hornby, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing in north Camden, said he is finalising the paperwork and officers hope to move in this month.

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