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Police will be 'distracted' by A&E drama if counter set up at Royal Free Hospital

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 July 2013

Police considered setting up a contact point at the Royal Free Hospital following the closure of Hampstead Police Station. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Police considered setting up a contact point at the Royal Free Hospital following the closure of Hampstead Police Station. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Nigel Sutton

Plans for a police contact point at the Royal Free Hospital may be scrapped amid concerns officers would get swept up in accident and emergency (A&E) drama.

The hospital, in Pond Street, was seen as the best location for a new contact point in Hampstead, following the closure of the nearby police station in Rosslyn Hill on June 24.

But the officer who was this week tasked with finding the new base has all-but ruled out the Royal Free option.

Inspector Nikki Babb, who is in charge of neighbourhood policing in north Camden, said: “The venue is still to be decided.

“There was discussion about it being in the hospital, but I don’t think that’s a great venue, I don’t think it’s fit for purpose.

“If something happens in A&E and officers are pulled away, there will be no one there [at the contact point].

“If that happens, you are not committing to the people who have walked there for that one little hour that it’s open.

“We don’t want to rush into something and it not be the right one.”

Insp Babb this week launched a hunt for alternative venues – with a view to opening in September at the earliest.

The walk-in service, which gives the public a chance to officers, is expected to open for just three hours per week, from 8pm to 9pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 2pm to 3pm on Saturdays.

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