Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 12:43 UK

From cardboard cops to decoy cars

By Brendon Williams
BBC News

Cardboard cop (right) with Pc Anna Gaskill
The Derbyshire force used cardboard cut-outs

It is not the first time North Wales Police have used unusual or controversial policing methods.

In 2004, when asked about police tactics to catch speeding motorists, chief constable Richard Brunstrom admitted officers hid behind walls and road signs.

Last year, he also revealed speed cameras could be placed inside cats' eyes.

However, he is not the only police chief to have endorsed some, well,

rather unorthodox tactics.

Last year, Derbyshire Police deployed life-size cardboard cut-outs of a policewoman in stores across the Peak District to deter shoplifters.

Thankfully, Pc Anna Gaskill, who was used as the model for the cut-outs, assured the Derbyshire public they would not be cutting back on real police officers.

Which was just as well - because one of the cut-outs ended up being stolen.

North Yorkshire Police stationed two cardboard officers in York Hospital's casualty department in 2005 in a bid to stop aggression to staff.

A police officer in the Ukraine with the metal car replica
Ukrainian police used a metal decoy - but it needed protection

And it is not just police who have taken to cardboard to fight crime.

In Kent, last year, garage owner Robert Sergeant make a fake policeman with his six-year-old daughter and stood it on a bend on the A262 at Goudhurst.

He had been keeping a record of road accidents in the village and said the cut-out had a dramatic effect on slowing down traffic.

In Glentham, Lincolnshire, in 2006, villager Gordon Crosbie built a replica Gatso-style speed camera using a plastic board and reflective tape.

The A631 road had been identified as one of the most dangerous roads in Britain by the AA, and Mr Crosbie claimed his camera immediately slowed traffic down.

The Merseyside force, and others, have started using "decoy" vehicles - some with satellite navigation systems on display - to attract and catch car thieves.

The force places the vehicles in car crime hot spots and puts teams on standby to arrest thieves who take the bait.

And it's not just British police forces that have turned to unusual policing methods to catch criminals.

In 2003, officers in the Ukraine positioned a 100kg flat replica police vehicle made from metal at the side of major roads.

The replica was hailed as the answer to Ukraine's growing speeding problem.

However, officers did need to keep a constant eye on it because it was worth so much in scrap metal, which, said critics, rather defeated the object.

Cardboard cops on hospital watch
07 Jun 05 |  North Yorkshire
Cut-out bobbies help reduce crime
08 Dec 05 |  Derbyshire
Ukraine's dummy police cars
05 Mar 03 |  Europe


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