Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is continuing work to review the estate of Cambridgeshire Constabulary in order to support the changing requirements of operational policing and support services.
With the police estate currently valued at £35 million and costing £4 million (annually) to run, the Commissioner is continuing to look at new and better ways to deliver an effective police service which both better manages demand and makes the best use of new technology.
The Commissioner wants to ensure resources are focussed on frontline policing and that inefficient and under-used buildings are disposed of.
Recent work has already seen the number of police buildings reduce from 41 to 29 with the majority of those already closed being small satellite offices.
Looking ahead, there are a number of projects underway that will ensure future policing needs are met. For example, a new vehicle workshop centrally located in St Ives is due to open in spring 2017. This will replace three separate out-dated buildings in March, Cambridge and Peterborough.
Also, management of custody is now part of the strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police, and Hertfordshire Constabulary and a project is underway to find a suitable site in the Cambridge area to construct a new investigation centre. This will eventually replace the Parkside Police Station allowing redevelopment of the site.
The Police Commissioner and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority have already agreed to work together to develop a business case to understand the opportunities for closer collaboration between police and fire services. This will include reviewing the estates of both and identifying areas for both services to work together.
Mister Ablewhite said: “As I have stated many times, my priority remains protecting the front line. Changes in policing brought about through new technology and collaboration means that the requirement on police estate has changed. It doesn’t make sense to retain buildings that the Chief Constable says are not required operationally. Buildings don’t protect people but people do.
“Where sites are not required, I will be looking to either sell them for an immediate return or, where appropriate, redevelop them in order to generate long-term income.”
Alec Wood, Chief Constable said: “Agile working means that officers are no longer tied to police stations but instead are able to respond to needs more effectively. With better technology and collaborative working, officers can spend more time out in the community, increasing visibility which I know is what the public really want.
“This review will help us ensure we have the right facilities to meet future policing demand.”
Meanwhile it`s been confirmed Thorpe Wood in Peterborough will remain open.
A copy of the Estate Strategic Scoping Report can be found here: http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/work/