Chop for cardboard police

A POSTMASTER has called for a return to “bobbies on the beat” with less paperwork after it emerged Essex Police had given up on a scheme using cardboard coppers.

Carlo Guglielmi, a Tendring district councillor who also runs a busy post office in Lawford, said the scheme to put the cut-outs in shops to deter crime had been destined to fail.

Essex Police spent about �2,000 on the trial which began last year and saw the cut-out policemen placed in petrol stations and shops across the county.

However, they have now been abandoned after some of the cut-outs were stolen including a recent theft of one of the “officers” from the Co-op in Manningtree.

The force said last night they would not stop trying “innovative” ideas but admitted the scheme had “very little” effect on either crime or anti-social social behaviour.

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Mr Guglielmi said they were lucky to have good Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) working in the Lawford area, but said there needed to be more police back on the streets.

He said: “I feel, quite frankly, that the cardboard police were a waste of money.

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“If the police were to get human beings back on the street that would be far better.

“It’s about getting back to square-one. Why were there lots of police before and now there are none here?

“With the cardboard cut-outs I could see straight away they were not real and the print quality was not great and I can’t believe that the police have gone down that route.

“It’s quite plain that funding is the main issue and they need to free-up officers from paper-work, get the administration staff to do more, and get them back on the street.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “The trial of the cardboard police officers showed they had very little effect on crime or anti-social behaviour and we will not be continuing with their use.

“It was an idea worth trying and we would always consider innovative schemes in out efforts to reduce crime.”

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