It looks like it will soon be easier than ever to pick up a “cop-a coffee” in Falmouth after police announced plans to convert its front desk and custody cells into a coffee shop.
It is in response to Devon and Cornwall Police’s announcement last month that the station’s front desk is set to close.
Although a consultation with staff and unions remain ongoing, the expectation is that Falmouth is one of 11 that will no longer be open to the public, as part of cuts aimed to save the force £12 million over the next four years.
Instead, Inspector Steve Lenney hopes to reopen the doors of the station again by setting up a coffee shop in what is currently the front desk area and also the custody cells.
Insp Lenney said: “The cuts are a challenge. Some people look at it as doom and gloom – I look at it that we have to do things we should have done already.
“We have got to change and we have got look at how we can provide our service differently.”
The idea is that people will be able to go into the coffee shop simply for a drink, but also have the opportunity to chat to officers about concerns or report crimes at the same time.
Although the finer details of how it will operate are still to be considered, Insp Lenney has been given the provisional go-ahead to explore his idea further.
He envisages the coffee shop to fill the closed front desk area and also the custody area, which does not comply with new regulations that are coming into force and would be too expensive to update.
“We have a big chunk of police station not put to good use,” explained Insp Lenney. “We have got to open the doors and get the public back in. We have just got to think differently.
“Why can’t we be more part of the community in a different way? It’s a very austere approach we have at the moment – it needs to change.”
And he added that by thinking differently already the Falmouth and Helston sector’s performance was “in a really good place.”
He has already put the proposal to one coffee company, but is eager for other, possibly local businesses, to get in touch if they were interested in going into partnership.
Until a firm plan is drawn up it is too early to say when the coffee shop might be open, but Insp Lenney said: “We have got to explore this to make sure we provide the best possible service we can.
“It’s exciting times, not dire times. The alternative is we just shut the door.”
The only other police-coffee shop link up he is aware of is Cops and Doughnuts in Michigan, USA.