Wirral South MP Alison McGovern will officially open Bebington’s newly refurbished police station today.
The station, which has been completely closed and empty since 3rd November 2013, is back open for use following a six-month renovation project.
Work to reopen the station was officially started by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, the Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM and the Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Phil Davies in July last year when they ceremonially cut the sod at the Civic Way site.
Since then an extensive refurbishment project has seen the building brought back to life. Existing partitions and walls have been removed to provide a more efficient, open-plan working space and the entire site has been modernised and refreshed. The station will now house 74 police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Special Constables and has a room to allow officers to meet with members of the public on an appointment basis.
Two Merseyside Police officers on horseback, wearing full regalia, and members of Merseyside Police’s youngest recruits, the Mini Police, will provide a guard of honour for Wirral South MP, Alison McGovern, and other local dignitaries including the Leader and Deputy Leader of Wirral Council, Cllrs Phil Davies and George Davies as they arrive at the station for the ceremony today.
The Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, and Chief Constable Andy Cooke, will formally welcome the guests, before inviting Alison to officially open the building and take a tour.
Jane said: “I’m pleased that following a major refurbishment programme we are now in a position to re-open Bebington Police Station and I’m delighted that Alison is able to give her time to carry out the official unveiling today.
“I hope that Bebington Police Station will be an asset not just for Merseyside Police, but for local people and the wider community for years to come. Not only does it put the Force right back at the heart of the community, it provides a place from which officers and staff can meet local people face-to-face.
“The Force need stations which are modern and fit for the purpose of policing in the 21st century and I am committed to providing the most affordable and effective buildings possible, while simultaneously reducing the running costs of the entire police estate to make sure even more money can be reinvested in the frontline.”
The project to bring Bebington Police Station back into use is part of the Commissioner’s 10-year strategy to modernise Merseyside Police’s buildings and facilities, while working to reduce the annual running costs of the estate by an estimated £2.5m.
As the first major refurbishment under the Commissioner’s plan, Bebington Police Station will set the benchmark for future projects. Work at the site included installing a new car park and lift and putting in place new power, data, heating and ventilation systems. Landscaping has also been carried out around the building which is opposite the town’s Civic Centre.
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: ““I’m delighted to see the completion of this major refurbishment work, which keeps us right at the heart of our communities, and I would like to thank both Jane and Alison for their time, support and backing. Investing in new premises will be vital in maintaining a modern and affordable police force across Merseyside, and Bebington Police Station sets the standard.”
The renovations were part funded by earmarked capital reserves specifically set aside for the estate strategy and external loans from approved sources, in accordance with the Prudential Code for capital finance. This money is completely separate from, and cannot be diverted to, the funding used to pay for Merseyside Police’s officers and staff.
Cllr George Davies, Wirral’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Access to police stations is high on the agenda for our communities in Wirral, and this will give people in Bebington access to their neighbourhood police team in an easily accessible location.
“People will be reassured to see neighbourhood officers and PCSOs at work in the heart of the communities they serve.”
Contractor Wates Smartspace were the principal contractor on the project after being appointed through a competitive tendering process using the Northwest Construction Hub.
Nigel Williams, Construction Manager at Wates Smartspace said: “This project has been a pleasure to work on and the finished product has far exceeded everyone’s expectations. We are delighted to have surpassed the targets set by both the North West Construction Hub and our own team at the start of the project and credit the collaborative approach that all partners have shared throughout for this success.
“Wates is truly committed to leaving a lasting legacy for the whole community and this project really enabled us to live these values. We were able to engage with local groups through a number of community events and deliver both apprenticeship placements and work experience opportunities. We hope to continue this successful working partnership on future projects.”