Celebration for one year of police Cops n Coffee in Leigh Park

From left, volunteer Michael Crockford, PCSO Samantha Heath and Hampshire chief constable Andy Marsh, celebrate the first birthday of Cops 'n' Coffee in Leigh Park. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150068-701)
From left, volunteer Michael Crockford, PCSO Samantha Heath and Hampshire chief constable Andy Marsh, celebrate the first birthday of Cops 'n' Coffee in Leigh Park. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150068-701)
Dennis Jennings

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A COP shop where the community can drop in and speak to their local beat officer is celebrating a year in action.

Cops n Coffee, in Greywell Precinct, Leigh Park, is the brainchild of Leigh Park sergeant Garry Smith.

Sgt Smith’s idea was to open a venue where the public could drop in, build relationships with officers and give intelligence on what is going on in their neighbourhood.

Yesterday Hampshire Constabulary chief constable Andy Marsh cut a cake to celebrate the success of Cops n Coffee a year on.

He also had an announcement for the team – the five volunteers who help out in the shop have been awarded the Hampshire police volunteer team of the year award.

Ch Con Marsh said: ‘What is so wonderful about this is it brings the community, that we’re here to serve, and the police together with lots of other agencies.

‘We work together to solve lots of problems.

‘We’ve got volunteers here that signpost people to other areas if they need it – domestic abuse help, anti-social behaviour, Community Speedwatch.

‘It’s got the support of the local council which I’m really pleased about.’

Sgt Smith came up with the idea after hearing about a similar project, Cops n Doughnuts, in America.

He said: ‘People can come and meet their local police officers, they can tell us what their concerns are, what the problems are in their area and what they think our priorities should be.

‘We also give crime prevention advice and have a chat about issues and concerns in their neighbourhood.’

And he was delighted to see the shop’s five volunteers – who greet people, make coffee and give out literature – recognised.

He said:’They are absolutely invaluable to us.

‘We couldn’t do it without them. They come out and help whatever the weather and are a huge support to us.’

Cops n Coffee is open Tuesday and Saturday from 9am until 4pm.