Cardboard Cut-Out Cops Patrol the Streets


Preventing crime can exhaust resources that police departments don’t always have. Instead of using actual officers to stop speeding drivers, one police department is switching things up.

The West Mercia Police department in England has unveiled a pop-up cop named “Bob,” a life-sized cut-out in charge of handling the speed camera to deter car crime and speeding drivers. The department’s two cut-outs will be placed by the roadsides in Shropshire, near the border with Wales. These areas have been reported to have high levels of speeding motorists.

The strange concept is already being used in Scotland but it’s now time for an English police force to see how well the cut-outs work. Local residents have been complaining about speeding drivers and wanted a way for the crime to be cut down in the area. Others have called the idea “outlandish,” arguing that there’s no proof these cardboard cops slow traffic at all.

“Keeping communities safe is one of our organizational priorities and pop-up cops are simply an additional tool we can use alongside our partners to respond to community concerns about speeding. The idea initially came from one of our own officers who saw a pop-up cop being used in Scotland while he was on holiday.

“At first glance, Bob does make you check your speed which is a positive reminder about road safety in itself. We appreciate that motorists will quickly realize that Bob is a cut-out, which is why we will be using him smartly and efficiently alongside other speed prevention activity,” Sergeant Damien Kelly said.

The two “Bobs” cost the department between $177 and $264 and were already being used on buses and in shopping centers.


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