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Plastic police cut outs to keep order at Cumbrian hospital

Life-size plastic policemen are keeping watch at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven as part of a crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour.

Plastic hospital police photo
The life-size cut-outs together with the ‘real’ officers and, from left, Michael Bonner, non-executive director responsible for security, Dr Charles Brett and Inspector Craig Lory

The Polycarb cut-outs of PC Leesa Edwards and PCSO Jonathon Mann aim to make people think twice before being abusive to staff.

They are situated at the hospital’s main entrance and in the accident and emergency department, providing a high-visibility police presence 24 hours a day.

The two officers whose images have been used will also be holding drop-in sessions in the hospital.

The scheme follows the introduction of similar cut-outs at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary last year.

John Mitchell, security manager for the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said they have had a really positive impact.

“The plastic police officers have been an effective tool at the Cumberland Infirmary so we are pleased to be able to introduce them at the West Cumberland Hospital.

“We are keen to build up a more regular police presence on site and officers will be holding regular monthly drop-in sessions for patients, staff and visitors to raise any issues or concerns.”

The first police drop-in session took place last week in an office near the main entrance and more are planned at different times of day to allow as many people as possible to attend.

Times and dates are: Friday, February 19, 7pm to 8pm; Wednesday, March 24, 5.30pm to 6.30pm; Saturday, April 17, 2pm to 3pm; and Wednesday, May 26, 8pmto 9pm.

Inspector Craig Lory, of the Whitehaven Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The introduction of recent legislation shows that the intimidation of health staff will not be tolerated and they should be allowed to offer their first class service unhindered by a selfish minority.”

The plastic cut-outs and the police sessions are part of the Respect campaign which the NHS Trust has been running in conjunction with Cumbria Police since 2008.


New legislation introduced late last year makes it a criminal offence to cause a nuisance or disturbance to NHS staff while they are working on NHS premises. It applies to both patients and visitors.

Have your say

Last year when the statistics for staff abuse were published it was remarkable how few prosecutions resulted. Its all very well wringing our hands at the problems caused, and the time wasted that should be spent with patients, but these drunks and bullies need to be made an example of with more than a telling off or a small fine.

Posted by Damian on 8 February 2010 at 10:45

Is this some kind of joke?

Posted by Mike. on 7 February 2010 at 00:13

View all 4 comments on this article

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