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Police services to be trialled at post offices to save money

By Margaret Davis

Police services could be offered in post offices across London after Scotland Yard announced it will trial the idea as part of its efforts to making cuts of £500m.

Deputy London Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh announced today that the Metropolitan Police is in "very early discussions" to set up the pilot, which will be established in six months' time.

He said: "Typically, post offices are staffed by people who are security-cleared, are used to taking cash, used to transactions. Some also have secure rooms as well. In theory, post offices could provided a fixed point on the high street, with some branding with the Metropolitan Police, where you could bring lost property; if you need to produce identification, if there's a licence that you need to go to a police station for, you could maybe do that in a post office. And even very simple crime reporting potentially could be done."

The force plans to sell 200 buildings, including New Scotland Yard, as it faces making cuts of £500m to its £3.6bn annual budget. Sixty-five front counters face closure - the force says fewer people are visiting police stations, and these are the least-used facilities in the capital.

Proposals also include the movement of 800 detectives from specialist squads out to neighbourhood teams. There would be more constables, up from 24,630 now to 25,909 in 2015, but a reduction in senior ranks.

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