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- Avon and Somerset Police strategy released today
- First look at Bridgwater Police Centre
- Centre will house enquiry office, 36 custody cells, investigation teams, CSI, specialist operations and neighbourhood teams.
AVON and Somerset Police has unveiled the new £20million Police Centre at Express Park in Bridgwater after taking a long hard look at its estate.
The force has set up three police and custody centres in Bridgwater, Patchway and Keynsham to help meet the needs of communities, staff and operational policing.
The constabulary has made the moves to reduce its portfolio of buildings by at least 36% by 2019, which it says will support further savings to keep more officers and staff on or close to the frontline.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “As we get ready to move into these three state of the art new police centres I want to be clear with local people about our future estate plans.
“I do not want residents to feel the police are withdrawing from their area or street - far from it - our plans are about reducing the amount of oversized and under-utilised buildings we own and providing the best possible access for our communities.
“This is an exciting time for local policing and reinforces our commitment to serving our communities while being more efficient and cost effective with our buildings.”
She added that local police teams may share a building with other ‘blue light’ services such as fire and ambulance or with the local council.
While some moves will take place this summer as the new police centres open, others, such as the situation with Burnham Police Station, are longer term and will happen the next four to five years.
Director of Finance Julian Kern said: “Many of our buildings are in need of significant investment and are too large for what we need. We are keen to work with our local partners and seek smaller and more flexible locations.
“Some of the details of exactly where will be moving to are not yet confirmed and commercial discussions are underway in some cases. We will communicate with the local communities affected when we have the details.”
The new police and custody centres have been funded by a private finance initiative (PFI). PFI is method developed by the UK government, to provide financial support for public-private partnerships.
PCC Sue Mountstevens with AS Police Director of Finance Julian Kern
Mercury photographer Jeff Searle checks out the cells at Bridgwater Police Centre... he swears he hasn't done anything
The cells in the custody unit
Mercury photographer Jeff Searle in a cell
How many cameras?
Might be sharing with the fore station facilities in Burnham, as an option
Burnham police station will close and a new station will open nearby. A new Burnham police station will open with an enquiry office and local policing base. There is potential for a co-location with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, subject to funding.
Local policing team will be based in SDC offices with a small enquiry service staffed by the council.
Council will deal with smaller enquiries
The current Bridgwater Police Station will close and move to the new Police Centre, with a presence at Sedgemoor District Council's offices
Behind scenes departments, CID, enquiry office etc all housed here at #BridgwaterPoliceCentre— @MercuryKJames 28 April 2014
#BridgwaterPoliceCentre will house criminal justice teams who process info for court cases, dog teams... http://t.co/oKYTvU4h2Q— @MercuryKJames 28 April 2014
RT @MercuryKJames: There will be about 650 people based here, around 350 at any one time #BridgwaterPoliceCentre http://t.co/64hwX8pj2R— @MercuryJDempsey 28 April 2014
RT @MercuryKJames: Project near completion at Bridgwater's new police centre— @vickybanham 28 April 2014
Mercury reporter Kirsty James and photographer Jeff Searle are at the new police centre in Bridgwater