Argyle's community policing office
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Partnership is the big buzzword in the Forest City these days with the latest one having now been launched in the Argyle area.
On Friday (Sept. 21), the London Police Service (LPS) opened a new community policing office, in association with the Argyle Business Improvement Area (Argyle BIA) and Commissionaires Great Lakes (1730 Dundas St). Commissionaires Great Lakes offers a full range of security options in cities across Southern Ontario.
The office, which is being provided free of charge to the police, won’t be permanently staffed, but will be available to officers in their day-to-day operations.
London Insp. Chris Newton said the new office will not only provide officers with a secure location in the city’s east end, but also provide greater visibility to Argyle residents and businesses alike.
“At the very minimum it will make our officers more engaged and more accessible to members of the public and to the business association here in the Argyle area,” Newton said. “It is more approachable situation to meet in an office as opposed to speaking with them at home or in a business that may not be convenient for them or the officer.”
Newton said the office space will be used by officers working in the area who need a secure location for completing reports, making phone calls or meeting with members of the public. Something Newton said is better done in an office, “as opposed to trying to do those things from behind the wheel of a cruiser.”
The space was provided for free through an arrangement with the Argyle BIA and Commissionaires Great Lakes.
Kevin Armstrong is area manager for Commissionaires Great Lakes and said the idea only came up around six to nine months ago as a way to further connect London police with area residents.
“We just feel it was a natural progression, our existing relationship with London Police Services, visa via, our camera monitoring commissionaires down at city hall and our parking enforcement officers for the city,” Armstrong said. “We really do strive to be good neighbours, good corporate citizens. It is just win-win.”
This will be the third LPS office, but Newton said there is a significant difference between the Commissionaires office and the other two, located in Lambeth and in the Covent Garden Market.
“The other two locations are — for the most part — stand alone police offices,” Newton said. “This is integrated into an existing business. In that regard, we are eager to find out how this will work in comparison to the other two offices.”
Ward 2 Councillor Bill Armstrong knows full well how effective partnerships can be. After all, he is a part of one every day.
“I can tell you from my experience, I am partnered with the BIA, I have my desk in their office. It has worked well,” Bill Armstrong said. “It shows partnerships can work. It makes things like this more affordable and doable, especially in these times where budgets are tight.”
Bill Armstrong agrees with both Newton and Kevin that having an increased police presence in Argyle has numerous advantages. He adds that visibility is a key advantage because it helps give people piece of mind while also allowing businesses to work directly with the police.
And he also said the scenario is something that he hopes can catch on with other community partners.
“It is win-win for the community. I can’t say enough about the Commissionaires and the police for doing this pilot project,” Bill Armstrong said. “You have to try new things. So we will try this out and see how it works.”
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