Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and Chief Constable will ceremonially break the ground at the site of the force’s new headquarters today (Friday 13th September) to get work at the £48m centre underway.
PCC Jane Kennedy and Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM will turn the first sod at the Scotland Road site, which will act as Merseyside Police’s new headquarters once opened in September 2021.
The purpose-built, four-storey centre, which is being built adjacent to the force’s existing station on St Anne Street, will house more than 1,100 officers and staff who will move over from the current headquarters on Canning Place in Liverpool city centre and from a number of leased units in Brunswick Dock, enabling these to be released.
The 12,800 m2 centre will provide modern, open-plan offices, meeting rooms, and break-out spaces and has been designed to enable staff to work in a more flexible way. Located on a brownfield site, the new police base will be bound by Scotland Road, St Anne Street and the approach road to the Queensway tunnel, breathing new life into one of the principal routes into the city centre.
The Police Commissioner first unveiled plans to build a new police headquarters in Everton ward in September 2016. The announcement followed a year-long evaluation of a host of potential new sites, as well as the potential refurbishment of the existing headquarters. This process confirmed a new headquarters would be cheaper to build and maintain and more sustainable, efficient and environmentally-friendly.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I’m thrilled that we are finally now in a position to start work on the new headquarters that Merseyside Police so desperately needs on this key gateway into the city.
“Canning Place has been a loyal servant to the Force for more than 40 years and there is no doubt it boasts a fantastic location, but it is now of an age where expensive repairs and maintenance work are urgent and essential. It is old, inefficient and its structure and layout are no longer fit for purpose. The lighting and ventilation are poor and the car park needs major structural work.
“This new, modern and flexible headquarters will provide officers, PCSOs and staff with the right facilities and working environment to fight crime, now and in the future, ensuring Merseyside Police is equipped to protect our communities for years to come.
“It is important that I make it clear the money used for this project is completely separate from the funding used to pay for Merseyside’s Police’s officers and staff and cannot be diverted to fund operational policing. The new centre will also save money by reducing the annual running costs of the police estate – money which can be directed straight to the frontline. This is a long-term investment which, over the next 40 years, will save the force a substantial amount in running costs in comparison to undertaking a major refurbishment of the existing premises in Canning Place.
“Furthermore, I hope we can recoup a large chunk of the cost of this development through the sale of Canning Place, which was recently described as ‘the best regeneration opportunity in the entire country’.
“It has been a complex and lengthy process to get to the position where the Chief Constable and I can officially get building work under way today, but I am delighted it is finally here. This new headquarters is the most effective, efficient and economical way to ensure that Merseyside Police is able to tackle crime and protect our communities now and for future generations.”
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “This is a further step in making sure that police officers and police staff have the right resources, working environment and are located in the right place to continue delivering a service the public can be proud of. Further, the site selection will deliver huge benefits to the local community by investing in an area of regeneration.”
As part of this process of selecting a new location for police headquarters, the Commissioner asked each of Merseyside’s five local authorities to identify any potential sites. The 13 sites proposed were then assessed and scored alongside an additional 31 privately-owned sites identified by the Force and external consultants. The top five of these sites were then evaluated in more detail, with the Scotland Road site being identified as the best possible alternative to Canning Place. A further independent feasibility study was then carried out to compare the costs and benefits of carrying out a major refurbishment of Canning Place against developing a purpose-built site on Scotland Road, with the new site coming out as the clear winner.
Planning permission was granted in October 2018 and, since then, site contractors Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd have been preparing the site ready for construction to begin. Through the project, they have committed to providing a significant economic boost to the local area, offering a range of training and employment opportunities for workers in the Liverpool City Region.
Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We are very proud to be starting work on these modern new headquarters for Merseyside Police, and are committed to delivering a quality and cost effective environment that will serve officers, PCSOs and staff for years to come.
“We look forward to once again working in close collaboration with the force, with whom we share a commitment to leaving a positive and lasting legacy in the communities in which we work. We will continue to build on the 3,000 apprentice weeks and 1,950 school and college works we’ve delivered in this city to date.”
Across the city of Liverpool, Willmott Dixon has delivered over £90m of community and regeneration projects, with a total of £75m spent with local businesses.
Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, commented: “Ensuring that the Merseyside Police headquarters are future proofed for the changing complexities of modern policing is critical. This is compounded by the need to accommodate the intake of new police officers as recently announced by the government. By harnessing the extensive experience Scape and Willmott Dixon have in working with police authorities, Merseyside Police can be confident that their project will be delivered with dedicated expertise and with a full commitment to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent efficiently and locally.”
Take a look inside Merseyside Police's new headquarters with this flythrough of level three of the new £48m centre: