BOSCOMBE’S long-awaited police box is under construction and will be in place in the precinct by the end of spring.
Based on the design of the original 1929 police box, but built with steel rather than concrete, the promised police contact point and tourist attraction is being built by AMK Industries in Christchurch.
The box, which will be regularly staffed by police officers and PCSOs during day-time hours, has been funded through sponsorship from local businesses and organisations.
Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Weeks said: “About two-and-a-half years ago the community informed us that they were concerned about levels of crime and disorder in the precinct.
“We felt it was essential to have a police presence there in a permanent position.”
At present, a police community van parks outside McDonald’s at the western end of the precinct on Thursdays and Saturdays, when the area is at its busiest.
Inspector Weeks said the van had been a great help in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the area, and was also an important contact point for the public to air their concerns to officers.
“This police box adds the potential to change the demographics of the area,” he said.
“It is an opportunity to attract families and tourists into the area, which will obviously be a benefit to local businesses, and I think the public like to see the police on patrol.”
The two-tonne Tardis-like box, designed by architect James Roberts of Anders Roberts and Associates, will have a yellow phone so people can contact police when the box isn’t manned.
Police boxes were first introduced in the UK in 1891, and by 1953 there were 685 in London alone.
They were phased out in 1969 and a Metropolitan Police box outside Earl’s Court underground station is currently the only operational box in the country.
Sergeant Chris Amey added: “We would like to thank all those companies and organisations that have donated sponsorship – they are as keen as we are to help make a difference in Boscombe.”
To see the progress on the box follow @dorsetpolice on Twitter.