Headlines: cop office

Was quite taken aback by a headline in yesterday's London Lite free newspaper:

Boy, 14, stabbed
to death outside
empty cop office

There is something incongruous about the headline for such a horrific story including the uncommon yet jaunty phrase 'cop office'. I understand that it was chosen for reasons of space – being several characters shorter than 'police station' – but still.

What would I have used instead of 'cop office'? I'm not sure. 'Cop shop' has the advantage of being an established phrase (at least here in the UK), but is possibly even jauntier than 'cop office'. And if you went with 'police station' you would have to lose some of the other information in the headline. For example:

Stabbed dead
outside empty
police station

Here I've had to drop 'Boy, 14' – but as the story was accompanied by a photo of the victim, I think that's acceptable. What do you think?

Correction: I've just discovered (by actually reading the story properly) that the police station in question was a "neighbourhood policing office" rather than a "regular police station". I'm not sure what the precise difference is, but it makes the original headline more accurate. Saying that, the online version of the story, which has fewer space restrictions, uses "police station" rather than "cop office"...

1 comment:

mighty red pen said...

When I was an editor on my college newspaper, we used to regularly leave the finished product at the campus police station for the printer to pick up in the wee hours. He would refer to this as the "guard shack" which always amused us as being such a casual way to refer to campus police.