Blue Victorian police lamp criticised at Uppingham Town Hall
A blue Victorian-style light intended to reassure people of the police’s presence has been put up outside a station that is closed to the public.
The lamps are being installed outside six police stations in Leicestershire and Rutland – to the tune of £250 each.
But one outside Uppingham Town Hall – where beat officers and PCSOs have an office – has been criticised.
Uppingham resident Dan Marshall, 45, said: “There is a big difference between a local bobby occasionally using an office to do admin and a police station.
“The issue I have is this lamp, which is lit up at night, gives the false impression that it is a manned police station when it isn’t.”
Another local said: “What happens when someone genuinely needs help and tries to enter the police station at night and finds it’s closed? It’s a gimmick, it’s no more a police station than my two-year-old’s toy police car can chase after criminals.”
Others are in favour of the lamp, with some saying they hope it leads to a permanent police station. Retired teacher Susan Taylor, 68, said: “It’s a good idea in my view. I grew up in London and it was reassuring to see the blue lamp outside a police station. There’s something rather nostalgic about them too.”
A young mum added: “If the blue lamp puts off criminals then it’s a good thing. It’s like the cardboard cut-outs of cops you see in supermarkets. What we really need is a permanent police station in the town. Drug use and anti-social behaviour has been getting worse in the town, particularly after the pandemic.”
PC Rebecca Angel is a beat officer for Uppingham and is based at Oakham Police Station six miles away. She said: “The lamps are great because it shows the public there is another policing access point.
“We are very grateful that the town hall has leased us an office in the building. At the moment it is not open to the public but I understand there are plans to make it available for people to use via a telephone appointment. The office is equipped to be used to interview people. PCSO Andy Wylie and I use the office.”
Police and crime commissioner Rupert Matthews (Con) said the lamps are intended to make the police more visible in their communities and reassure residents.
A spokesperson for him said some sites receiving the lamps were not “front counter cop shops”.
She said: “We are in the process of turning these stations into places where people can make appointments to see officers. The opening times of these stations will not change.”
Mr Matthews had said of the lamps’ launch: “The blue lamp is an iconic piece of British policing history and symbolises not only law, order and justice, but safety and sanctuary.
“These values are just important to our communities today and this is just one of the many ways I aim to reconnect residents with the policing values of the past.
“This symbolic gesture will help to remind people that the police take their safety seriously and are there to provide help when it is needed.”