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7 March 2011, 10:28 | Updated: 9 March 2011, 15:16
A new £30 million state of the art police station in Southampton opens today (March 7th).
It replaces the old station at the civic centre, which will also close today.
It is likely to be one of the last new police stations in the country for sometime and when work started on the station there was a very different economic climate. However, the new building provides modern, purpose-built facilities which allow many policing services to be centralised under one roof for the first time.
The station’s based in Southern Road opposite Novotel and will also be the area’s local headquarters for the police. It was funded by Hampshire Police Authority. The eight storey building has taken 18 months to build.
It will offer officers and staff who work there a better working environment than the former Southampton Central police station at the civic centre which first opened back in 1933. The new building replaces old outdated facilities at the Civic Centre with state of the art accommodation in a new, purpose built head quarters, providing modern and efficient facilities for the 21st century.
Over the last month staff have been gradually moving into the building which will house teams ranging from the Intelligence Unit and specialist teams to response officers and administration functions. Some partner agencies who also work closely with the police such as Hampshire Probation Service will also have teams based at the new building.
By having more teams based in the same building rather than spread out across the city it will make it easier for them to work together more closely and further reduce crime across the city further.
The building is also home to Hampshire’s largest custody centre. With 36 cells it’s expected the facility will be a blueprint for other forces looking at their custody provision. The custody centre started in operation just over a week ago and is already taking in those arrested. The old custody centre at the civic centre is being gradually decommissioned and will be handed back along with the rest of the old building to the City Council at the end of March.
Hampshire Police Authority Chair Jacqui Rayment said: “I am extremely proud of the new state of the art Southampton Police Station which represents a major investment in the city by the Police Authority, meeting the needs of the public by providing modern and efficient facilities for police services in Southampton and the surrounding area.
“The new building will increase police efficiency and reduce costs by combining a wider range of operations in on location the building also provides a very impressive number of ‘green’ credentials..”
Southampton Police Commander, Chief Superintendant Matthew Greening said: “It's fantastic for the city that we now have a professional, modern and efficient police station.
“As fantastic as the new station is, it’s important to remember that it's just a building and it's the people who work in it and the officers and staff who go out on patrol from it who make the real difference. I am delighted we have this new station, not just for us but for the city as a whole.”