Britain’s first privately paid for city centre ‘cop shop’ has scooped a national award.
City Central BID, which co-funds Liverpool’s City Centre Access Point, received the ‘Outstanding work by a BID award’ at the Association of Town Centre Management’s (ATCM) annual awards in Bristol.
Opened in March 2011, the ‘cop shop’ was praised for being ‘a great piece of “outside the box” thinking’ after it was created in response to a double whammy of cuts – first a 20% cut to Merseyside Police which threatened to leave the city centre with no police presence and a similar cut in city council funded environmental enforcement patrols.
But thanks to a free fit out by St Johns Shopping Centre and with rent paid for by businesses through the BID levy for the next three years, Liverpool City Centre’s policing team has a home – and this April they recorded a drop in crime in the city centre just one year on from the opening.
- a 20% drop in violent crime against target
- a 13% drop in vehicle crime against target
- a 12% drop in criminal damage against target
The St Johns Cop Shop was also instrumental in Liverpool city centre retaining the Purple Flag award which recognises high levels of safety in a city’s night time economy.
As a result of the ATCM award, City Central BID also received a £1,000 to host a UK wide fact finding mission in to how the Cop Shop came about and works, in the autumn.
Martin Blackwell, Chief Executive of ATCM, said: ‘’This is a great piece of “outside the box” thinking that will reassure people and make it easier for retailers and visitors in the city get any help they need quickly.’’
Ged Gibbons, Chief Executive of City Central BID, which represents 630 businesses across 49 acres of Liverpool city centre, said the ‘cop shop’ underlined what can be achieved when public and private sector work together.
He added: ‘’For the St Johns Cop Shop to receive national recognition is hugely satisfying for all involved as this was a real team effort. Having a safe city centre is our number one priority and if someone told me we would win an award when we were facing these huge cuts to the police and council I’d have thought they were mad.
‘’For the ATCM to highlight our Cop Shop as something that other cities can learn from is a huge vote of confidence in what we try to do and we look forward to showing the rest of the country how we did it.’’
Ian Ward, centre director at St Johns, said: “The initiative came about through our relationship with the City Centre Police team and our partnership with the City Central BID team. The three organisations worked and invested hard to bring this idea to fruition to deliver an exceptional public service for the City Centre.
“We’ve been really pleased with the feedback we’ve received from both shoppers and retailers in the Cop Shop’s first year, and it’s fantastic to have everyone’s hard work recognised with this award for innovation.
“The Cop Shop is a huge benefit to St Johns, providing a visible police presence and going a long way to make Liverpool one of the safest and friendliest cities to visit.”
Liverpool City Centre Inspector Greg Lambert said: “We are extremely pleased that the St John’s Shopping Centre Cop Shop has been honoured in this way. Since opening in March 2011 the City Centre Access Point has received positive feedback from both shoppers and retailers.
“The Cop Shop is a huge benefit to St Johns and is a great example of partnership working between the police and private enterprise. This venture has enabled us to provide a real police presence in the centre and is going a long way to making Liverpool one of the safest and friendliest cities to visit.
“This award would not have been possible if it were not for my colleagues within the Force, our partners in St John’s Shopping Centre and Liverpool’s City Central Business Improvement District (BID).”