The UK’s first privately funded city centre police station, based at St Johns Shopping Centre, has won a highly respected industry award.
The ‘cop shop’, which opened in 2010 and has already helped Police achieve a 20 per cent drop in violent crime in the city centre, has received the British Council of Shopping Centres‘ Gold Award for Innovative Working Practices, its third award.
The award seeks to recognise shopping centres that have partnered with local organisations to develop innovative working practices or approaches to working that generate lasting benefits for the entire community.
The City Centre Access Point was developed as a joint partnership by St Johns, City Central BID and Merseyside Police as a solution to funding cutbacks that would have left the city centre without a local police service.
Since the ‘cop shop’ opened, Merseyside Police has been able to deploy a team of officers to patrol the city centre. It also acts as the Police Headquarters each weekend.
Liverpool Street Pastors aid the emergency services by assisting those who are vulnerable. Their presence helps to reduce crime, by assisting those who are potential victims of crime.
Since it opened, the centre has helped Merseyside Police to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in violent crime against target, 13 per cent reduction in vehicle crime against target and a 12 per cent drop in criminal damage against target.
Ian Ward, centre director at St Johns, said: “The Gold Awards are the highlight of the calendar for shopping centres and we are thrilled to be recognised in this way.
“The Access Point was a joint project designed to deliver a solution to funding cuts and it is fantastic that we have been able to deliver it for the benefit of everyone using the city centre.”
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 this 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.
“The award is a huge vote of confidence and we look forward to showing the rest of the country how we did it.’’
Inspector Greg Lambert from Merseyside Police added: “Since the ‘cop shop’ opened last year, we have been able to build on our relationships with businesses thanks to its central location which has led to an increase in intelligence gathering and a reduction in crime in the city centre.
“It provides people with immediate access to police officers and has helped to make our city centre the second safest in the country and as such we are delighted to see everyone’s hard work recognised with this award.
“However, we are not complacent and will continue to work hard with businesses and members of the public to ensure we see further reductions in crime and that people’s experiences of our city centre are positive.”
The City Centre Access Point beat competition from shopping centres including Westfield Stratford and Clock Towers in Rugby.