Review of Gwent Police Estate
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has today announced a comprehensive review of the Police estate, which aims to ensure that all police buildings and properties in Gwent are fit for the demands of modern policing and deliver a citizen focused service.
As Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert is responsible for all of the 48 police properties and buildings, which total more than 42,000 square metres in Gwent. In announcing the review, the Commissioner sets out ambitious plans to introduce a new operational estates model which will improve community access to services and engagement. The review has been welcomed by the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Julian Williams.
The Commissioner also emphasised the role partnership working will play in unlocking the potential of a unified approach to public service provision that delivers value for money. He highlights the success of retaining a permanent police presence in Abertillery by sharing accommodation with Welsh Ambulance Service and South Wales Fire and Rescue crews as a prime example of how this can be put into practice.
The Commissioner’s aspiration for delivery of Policing in Gwent is also exemplified by the recent opening of the new Caerphilly Police Station, which provides the community with a modern, connected facility and publicly accessible meeting space.
Mr Cuthbert also confirmed that a new HQ for Gwent Police would be part of the first phase of the Estate review. Having occupied its present site on Turnpike Road, Croesyceiliog, for over 40 years, the current HQ is in need of extensive and expensive renovation and has surpassed its life expectancy. Gwent Police will move to a new purpose built HQ in Llantarnam from 2019 which will be more cost effective than renovating the current site. The move will better enable the Police Service to meet the challenges of 21st Century Policing in a sustainable environment which promotes well-being and productivity. The running costs for the new HQ will also be 50% cheaper than the existing HQ and the building will be far more efficient and will save money for taxpayers.
Blueprint for policing services
Mr Cuthbert said: “This review provides the foundation for developing an estate that is fit for the future and adaptable to meet new challenges. We need to ensure that our estate delivers value for money by ensuring that all of our buildings are sustainable in every way possible. The time is right for us to begin the process of moving to a new HQ and to ensure the wider estate is fit for future purpose. In providing an effective service, I am committed to ensuring the estate represents the needs of the communities we serve in a cost effective way. I also want it to reflect the evolution of digital Policing and the interaction between the Police service and its partners. I was delighted to open Caerphilly Police Station recently which I believe provides an environment that facilitates neighbourhood policing engagement with the community.”
Highlighting his support for the review, the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Julian Williams, said: “The nature of Policing is changing as is the nature of criminality and we must evolve our service accordingly. We have a group of passionate, dedicated police officers and staff in Gwent who are committed to protecting and reassuring communities. To reflect the enormous pace of change, we need to make sure our Estate is suited to the operational challenges we face and the expectations communities and partner organisations have of us.”
Future Estate plans
Whereas the primary role of Gwent’s operational base will continue to be to deploy Policing resources in response to community need, the vast majority of the Estate comprises local neighbourhood policing operations.
The Commissioner outlined plans to move to a ‘hub’ and ‘spoke’ model of Policing which is better suited to community need and operational requirements.
Mr Cuthbert continued: “Our proposal is to ensure we have operational hubs in close proximity to road and digital infrastructure that enable rapid response to mitigate threat, harm and risk to our communities. This will be supported by a network of community accessible ‘spokes’ which deliver effective neighbourhood engagement and access to our services in the areas which require them most. Any proposals to change will be undertaken in close discussion with partner organisations and the communities we serve.”
The Estate review will be on a phased basis across the five Local Authority areas served by the Police Service and will run over a period of ten years.