South East Wales

Doctor Who Experience: Call to fund extra police post

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as Doctor Who and Amy Pond
Image caption Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as Doctor Who and Amy Pond travel through time and space in the Tardis, which takes the guise of a police box

Police are so worried a Doctor Who exhibition will attract thousands of people to Cardiff Bay they have asked for cash to pay for an extra officer.

South Wales Police object to the Doctor Who Experience opening in the city without funding for a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

But Cardiff council said the funding call was not justifiable, as the exhibition will have its own security.

Councillors vote on Wednesday on plans for a building for the exhibition.

BBC Worldwide has said it wants to relocate the exhibition, featuring sets, props and memorabilia from the series, from Olympia to a purpose-made building in Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, within sight of the new BBC studios.

Cardiff council has applied for planning permission for a temporary two-storey building decorated with a Dalek-like skirt around the bottom to house the exhibition.

A report to the planning committee estimated the attraction will have 250,000 visitors a year, with up to 3,500 a day at peak times. They will hope to see artefacts from the TV series, such as the Tardis - which takes the form of a police box.

South Wales Police say Cardiff Bay is a high crime area, notably for burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, while violence and anti-social behaviour are above average.

The report said the area had 1,400 reported crimes each year.

Police say the Doctor Who attraction would become one of a number of "high profile prestigious sites" in the locality, including the Welsh assembly, the Wales Millennium Centre and the BBC drama production village currently under construction at Roath Basin.

South Wales Police say they do not have the resources to "cope with additional major policing demands" while facing a 22% budget reduction over the next four years.

They have objected to the development unless they have a "developer contribution" of £89,820 over three years for a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to patrol the area.

Memorabilia

It says this would represent very small proportion of the exhibition's estimated turnover.

However, Cardiff planners said: "The resourcing and allocation of resources within the South Wales Police organisation is a matter for that service."

They added: "The applicant has indicated that they intend to manage their own security arrangements for the facility as part of the security provision associated with the BBC Studios development, and given that it is in their own best interests to do so it is considered that this is an appropriate expectation".

An exhibition of Doctor Who memorabilia was previously on show at the Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff Bay from autumn 2005 until March this year.

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