A police box will be landing in Boscombe precinct soon and will become one of only two operational boxes in the country. The other is outside Earls Court Underground Station in London.
The much-anticipated Boscombe box will provide a highly visible policing footprint at the western end of the precinct on Christchurch Road.
It will be regularly staffed during day-time hours by officers who will provide help, advice and support to the community. A yellow phone will be attached to the box which members of the public can use to contact Dorset Police at other times.
Currently under construction, the police box is expected to be officially opened and in operation in the spring and it is hoped it will become an iconic landmark.
The initiative has been independently funded by sponsorship from local businesses and organisations that have each donated £1,500. Sponsors will be recognised in the form of an engraved paving stone set at the foot of the box, thanks to Hoare Banks Stonemasons and Bournemouth Borough Council.
Designed by architect James Roberts at Anders Roberts and Associates Ltd, the box will be 3 metres high and 1.8 metres wide, of steel construction and it will weigh in excess of two tonnes.
Bournemouth East Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Weeks said: “The community voiced concerns regarding levels of crime and disorder in Boscombe precinct. Due to these concerns I considered an enhanced policing presence essential to reassure the public. The introduction of the police box will place an obvious policing footprint exactly where it is required.
“The Boscombe Police Box is just one of a number of projects aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
“It will provide a much-needed and alternative engagement point with the community and send a very clear message that the area is policed. Dorset Police is dedicated to the Backing Boscombe regeneration scheme.”
Police boxes were first used in the USA, with the first UK box being opened in Glasgow in 1891. By 1953 there were 685 police boxes on the streets of London. Each had a light at the top to signal that officers should contact the station. Police boxes were phased out between 1969 and 1970. A new police box was installed by the Metropolitan Police outside Earls Court Underground Station in 1996 and is the only other operational one in the country.
Councillor Jane Kelly, Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Regeneration at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “We welcome this exciting new initiative in Boscombe. Working together with the police, we are determined to drive down anti-social behaviour in Boscombe and boost regeneration. I fully support this initiative to maintain a regular police presence in the precinct area, acting as both a convenient information point for the public and also to provide reassurance to residents, businesses and visitors to the area.”
To see the progress of the police box throughout the building and assembly stages, follow @dorsetpolice on Twitter #boscombepolicebox and visit the Dorset Police Facebook page.