The main changes are to Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) – each ward now has a much smaller dedicated force, as borough commanders get more "flexibility" for where to deploy the rest of the officers; in other words, if one ward has more crime, expect to see more police – and to where you can contact your local bobbies.
Most boroughs now have only one 24/7 police station and a couple of daytime ones. Because the way we get in touch with the police has changed (more phone and web), 63 stations / front counters have closed around the capital, replaced by "contact points". The Metropolitan police pitches this as
around 200 places for the public to access police, in more convenient locations and at differing times.
In practice this means drop-in points open Wednesdays and Thursdays 7pm-8pm and Saturdays 2-3pm. The original idea to have contact points in supermarkets and coffee shops seems to have been largely dropped, possibly in the face of concerns about whether people would feel comfortable discussing their private concerns in the middle of Costa, and the locations are mainly SNT bases.
But you can still meet with police at Northolt Leisure Centre, Homerton Hospital, Waitrose in Westfield White City (the only contact point in all of Hammersmith and Fulham), Sydenham Sainsbury's or St Mary's Church cafe in Putney. (The proposal for a contact point at B&Q in Sidcup appears to have been binned.) Look up your local borough on the MPS website.
* With the exceptions of the City of London, which has its own police force, and Croydon which changes on 8 October. Awkward sods.
Photo by M@