Legendary Stoke Newington copshop opens up

Stoke Newington police staiton Hackney London 270913 © david.altheer@gmail.com

STOKE NEWINGTON police station, once one of England’s most notorious copshops, is to open its insides to the public — a move that may strike a tragicomic note with activists of a few decades ago. In those days nobody wanted to walk the steps up to its forbidding entrance: they might not get out.

Facing allegations of drug-dealing and violence, many of the police who worked at the building knew that the Hackney force was going through a terrible phase but because of corruption could do little to end it.

Things hit a low point on 12 January 1983, when a young man was found shot dead in the foyer of the building. A coroner’s jury ruled that Colin Roach himself had pulled the trigger. But demonstrations later filled Stoke Newington High Street as people objected to the verdict.

So bad was the reputation of Stoke Newington police station that it was demolished. The present more welcoming building opened in 1990.

Staff now include members of London’s many ethnic minorities and complaints against it and its occupants are never as awful as those made during the bad days.

Why, on the open day you will be able to:

* get your bike security-marked;

* sit in a heavy goods vehicle to see how difficult it is for the driver to see cyclists;

* see inside a fire engine [Yes, please — Ed.];

* fuss a Metropolitan Police dog (11am-12.30pm).

And children can meet police mascot PC Connie and dress up in police uniform.

Hmm, could be a riot. Just joking.

Hamish Scott 160912

* Stoke Newington police station, 33 Stoke Newington High Street N16 8DS, will be part of Open House London on 22 Sep 2013, 10am-2pm.

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