Police set up new office at Leigh Park library in bid to combat crime

OPENING From left, Anne Cleaver, PCSO Emma Adams and Chief Insp Steve Baxter
OPENING From left, Anne Cleaver, PCSO Emma Adams and Chief Insp Steve Baxter

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POLICE are now working alongside librarians after opening a new office.

Hampshire Constabulary yesterday opened a dedicated police office in Leigh Park library.

Situated in the heart of the estate, the force hopes it will be a drop-in centre where people will be able to report crimes, pass on information and have an informal chat with officers about their concerns.

The idea has come about as police say some people feel too intimidated to walk into Havant or Waterlooville police station and report a crime.

The library office, which until recently was a reference room, will be manned during the week during library opening hours.

It is hoped the office will become a useful base for reporting low-level crimes, such as anti-social behaviour and nuisance.

PCSO Emma Adams said: ‘It can be quite intimidating walking into a police station with officers everywhere.

‘This is a more relaxing atmosphere and I feel people will be more inclined to come here.

‘It could be anything.

‘They could just say they are popping to the library.

‘They can then pass it on discreetly and we can go from there.

‘It’s also better for the elderly residents of Leigh Park.

‘I think they are more inclined to pop in here and have a chat with us.’

Roger Carpenter, vice-chairman of Havant Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: ‘I think it’s brilliant.

‘It’s much-needed in Leigh Park.’

Anne Cleaver, in charge of libraries in the Havant area, said: ‘It’s almost as if it has always been there!

‘I think it’s wonderful. Flexible use of a public space must be a good idea and this is a way forward.’

The Mayor of Havant, Yvonne Weeks cut the ribbon to officially open the office.

She said: ‘I think it’s going to be an asset to us in Leigh Park, especially being in the library, right in the centre of Leigh Park.

‘It’s going to make the officers more available to the residents of the borough.

‘I think it’s going to be sustainable.’