A new £13.5m eco-friendly police station for the Wrexham area has been hailed an important step forward in modern policing.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick was speaking after a planning application was submitted to Wrexham County Borough Council.
If it’s given the go-ahead, the new police station in Llay will have a 32-cell custody suite, solar panels on the roof, and energy saving LED lighting.
The building is designed to be energy efficient and able to operate at its optimum for 24 hours a day.
According to Mr Roddick, Wrexham’s current main police station in the town centre is antiquated and no longer fit for purpose, with an out of date custody suite and uneconomical energy use.
It will be replaced by a new smaller police station, with a public front desk, in the centre of Wrexham.
Mr Roddick said: “I took over responsibility for the police estate after I was elected in 2012 and oversee the strategy for delivering an appropriate infrastructure for the police service of North Wales.
“The old Wrexham police station is now costing far too much to maintain and is uneconomical in terms of its energy use.
“More importantly, the custody provision at the current police station is wholly inadequate and no longer complies with current Home Office guidelines.
“By building a new modern police station on a new site at Llay, as well as maintaining an important presence in the town centre through a new smaller police station, the force will make a more economical use of its limited and decreasing budget.”
He added: “This is an important step in ensuring the public receives the best and most efficient policing from a modern, well equipped and well maintained force.”
If approved, building work could start on the new police station, on the site of the former Sharp warehouse in Llay, in October, and it is due to be operational in May 2017.
The designs include space to accommodate the new larger custody suite which complies with Home Office guidelines, and meet requirements of privacy and dignity of detainees.
There will also be a 200 square meter storage area for of seized and lost property, examination rooms, major incident rooms, training facilities with a gym, a car park and cycle shelters for visitors and staff.
Project manager for the scheme, Liz Bryan, who is based in the Facilities Management Department of North Wales Police, says the new Eastern Command and Custody Facility at Llay is planned for the site of a former warehouse.
She said: “The Eastern Command and Custody Facility will provide for new, largely open plan office accommodation together with atrium, custody suite and storage.
“It will feature photovoltaic cells on the roof, energy saving LED lighting and a building management system to enable the building to operate at its optimum 24 hours a day.
“The building will accommodate a 32 cell Custody Suite, constructed to the latest Home Office Design Guide which takes account of the requirements of privacy and dignity of detainees.
“There will also be a 200 square meter accommodation for the storage of seized and lost property.
“In addition accommodation will be provided for crime scene investigators, including examination rooms, roads policing, community safety, CID, the command team and major incident rooms.
“Wrexham rural policing will be based there as will the public protection unit. There will also be a post incident management suite, interview rooms and meeting areas. Training facilities will include a gym and operational briefing rooms.
“Externally there will be cycle shelters for visitors and staff as well as car parking for public, operational and staff vehicles.”
She added: “North Wales Police works collaboratively with Probation, Health, Social Services and other third party organisations and offices for multi-agency use will be provided.”
Liz Bryan, who has been with North Wales Police since 1999 having come from a construction background, says demolition work on the former Sharps warehouse at Llay should commence in October with construction of the new police building getting underway in November.
She said: “It is hoped the building will be ready and operational by May 2017. Galliford Try tendered for the project via the North Wales Schools and Public Buildings Framework on a two stage contract.
“They have now been engaged on the pre-construction element of the works and subject to affordability, will be contracted for the construction phase.”
North Wales Police have outlined plans for a new smaller Wrexham centre police station which, subject to negotiations will be based at the Oriel Art and Community Centre in Chester Street.
She said: “Details are yet to be finalised but North Wales Police would lease the building from Wrexham County Borough Council. The building would be adapted and extended to include a front desk for public use as well as interview rooms.
“The old current police station will almost certainly be demolished and the site sold for development. It is vital we realise as much capital as we can from the sale of the building and site.”
She added: “The new £13.5m Eastern Command and Custody Facility at Llay will be much better value for money and in the long term be far more economical to run while providing better accommodation for staff and those in custody, particularly young persons who are brought into custody for whatever reason.”