Merseyside Police’s new Operational Command Centre is open for business

Merseyside / February 06

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and Chief Constable have taken delivery of Merseyside Police’s new Operational Command Centre on time and on budget.

Jane Kennedy and Andy Cooke attended a special ceremony yesterday at which construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall officially handed over the new £48m building on the Estuary Business Park in Speke.

Work will now begin to move all the staff which make up Merseyside Police’s Matrix and Serious and Organised Crime (MSOC) team into the new centre, which is bounded by Speke Hall Avenue and Leeward Drive.

Once all the teams have been migrated, more than 1,200 officers and support staff from across all departments which make up the Matrix portfolio will be housed in the three-storey building. There is also a separate, single-storey building which will provide administration and support services and further smaller buildings including a dog kennels, a fuel station and a gatehouse on Leeward Drive which will control access to the 11.4 acre site.

The centre has been part funded by capital specifically ring-fenced for the Force’s buildings and part borrowed 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.

The ceremony yesterday saw Morgan Sindall area director Barry Roberts and senior contracts manager Paul Heald officially handover the centre at a ceremony at which the team who have worked on the project were thanked for their efforts.

Jane said: “What a transformation! Less than two years ago, this was a muddy field. Now, we have been able to officially take delivery of the building so that the officers and staff who make up the Matrix units can now start to move into this purpose-built centre.

“These teams lead the fight against the criminal gangs which bring the most fear to our communities and it is only right that they have the equipment and facilities they need to carry out that work as effectively as possible. I’m delighted that, as intended by the Chief Constable, they will now all be under one roof in this new centre which will enable them to work even closer together to prevent and tackle crime now and for years to come.

“The new centre will also save costs by enabling the Force to release a number of small, leased buildings which are scattered across Merseyside and are no longer up to standard. This will reduce Merseyside Police’s annual running costs, ensuring funds can be redirected towards frontline policing.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this project since 3rd November 2015 to turn our plans into reality. I am delighted to see it delivered on time and on budget and I look forward to the official opening of the building once all the teams are in place.”

The centre is an integral part of the Commissioner’s 10-year strategy to transform and modernise Merseyside Police’s station and facilities, while working to reduce the annual running costs of the police’s buildings by £2.5m.

Construction on the centre began on March 22nd, 2016, after the Commissioner joined with then Chief Constable, Sir Jon Murphy, and Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson to ceremonially turn the first sod. In March last year, the Commissioner and Chief Constable Andy Cooke returned to the site for a traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony, which saw the last concrete pour go into the top level of the main structure to mark the end of the main construction phase.

Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM said: “Merseyside Police is committed to providing a police service that is fit for the 21st century and that means we need to equip our officers and staff with the necessary facilities and equipment to do the job.

“A number of essential departments will now be able to come together under one roof as one team in the new Operational Command Centre in Speke, which has been made possible through funding specifically ring-fenced for the Force’s buildings, and which will reduce the Force’s overall running costs.

“I am delighted that our staff will now be able to relocate to the new purpose-built centre and continue the excellent work they do to tackle serious and organised crime in Merseyside.”

The buildings have been designed to meet the latest standards in energy efficiency, including LED light throughout and solar panels on the roof to make sure it is as cheap as possible to run. It was assessed by city council planners as “well designed to be interesting architecturally and to preserve and enhance its ecological value in a landscaped setting”. The site will also provide car parking and land for dog exercise and training.

Morgan Sindall has ensured that the site has been a hub of learning and development throughout the construction lifecycle. It’s estimated that 2,500 people primarily drawn from the surrounding region have worked on the project, with over 38 apprentices and graduates from local universities and colleges employed on site during the process.

Barry Roberts, Morgan Sindall area director, said: “It’s exciting to be celebrating the successful completion of this outstanding facility, which will provide a future-fit working environment for these men and women who do such important work across Merseyside.  This highly-sustainable centre will deliver huge efficiencies for the Merseyside force and we’re extremely proud to have delivered this challenging scheme on time and on budget.”

Local benefit

A key consideration during the creation of the new Operational Command Centre was how the project could benefit the local community, while ensuring it was as environmentally friendly as possible.

Take a look at just a few examples of how this was achieved:

  • More than £24m of the project was spent locally, within the local supply chain, in order to maximise the benefits for local businesses and organisations
  • The project was registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and achieved an outstanding score when audited of 46/50.  This is an industry leading score and is testament to the project being able to demonstrate consideration to the environment, the workforce, safety, community and its appearance.
  • The project achieved 655 apprentice weeks against a target of 630 weeks.  This included apprentices within the supply chain but also included 6 direct apprentice opportunities on site with Morgan Sindall.
  • All temporary timber from hoarding was donated to the local wildlife trust charity for reuse. The timber was used to make new bird nesting habitat (‘rafts’) for terns at Seaforth Nature Reserve. Enough was supplied for approximately 5 years’ worth of rafts. Some of the timber was also used to construct two goat houses at Freshfield Dune Heath for rare breed goats and for shelving units for the nature reserve workshop.
  • Project received two internal quarterly Sustainability Awards for its efforts to be a Responsible Project. The project set a series of targets around carbon, waste, apprentices, charitable giving, volunteering etc. which it has monitored against during construction.
  • The site team worked closed with adjacent nursery, Kiddifactory, to ensure there was no impact on them during the construction stage. To create a positive legacy, insect hotels were provided for the outdoor space and construction-related toys and outfits were donated.
  • Overall the project has donated approximately £15,000 to charitable organisations and site team members have provided 280 hours of volunteering support.

Take a look at the new Operational Command Centre