WORK will start shortly to build a new police centre of excellence in Lichfield which will help police turn the tables on criminals and give a better service to victims, says Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis.
The base will bring investigative resources from across the south of the county including CID officers, public protection and forensic investigators together, as one of three investigative hubs across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
It will see investigators and scientific experts working more closely with each other than ever before. The base will house the latest lab facilities, leading to the very best quality investigations.
The facility will be built on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Stafford Road (A51) and also provide a base for the Local Policing Team who cover the Lichfield area. A sign has gone up this week as ground preparation begins with building work due to start shortly after.
Mr Ellis said: “This is about using public resources well by investing in a first rate police facility for the future and giving police the best tools to do their job.
“This new centre of excellence will directly benefit crime victims throughout the south of the county by bringing police expertise in investigations and forensics under one roof.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly, from Staffordshire Police, added:
“Bringing these resources together will create the closest join there has ever been between our scientific and investigative expertise.
“Cutting-edge forensic techniques will be available on site and the co-location of police resources will mean greater flexibility and a better response to crime victims.”
The modern building will replace the old police station in Lichfield which is no longer fit for purpose and is due to be sold off as part of city centre redevelopment proposals. Members of the public will still be able to access the police through the front desk service at Lichfield District Council’s offices in Frog Lane, allowing police to continue to work closely with council colleagues.
Mr Ellis said: “The new police base demonstrates our commitment to local policing in Lichfield, with quick access to the main road networks and providing a modern base which neighbourhood and response teams will be able to meet in between patrols.
“This is about having facilities that work alongside a significant investment in technology which will allow us to deliver policing in a more effective way.
“This investment in technology will increase time for front line policing by thousands of hours each week across Staffordshire. It will turn the tables on criminals through superior, real time intelligence, reduce cumbersome time-consuming bureaucracy and provide officers with the right information on demand to deal with what they are facing or investigating.
“Working closely with Staffordshire Police we have set out what’s needed for a game-changing programme of transformation. It will maintain the most local neighbourhood policing, equip the force better than ever before, and is already returning greater discretion to officers through the removal of targets and will see policing here as top performing nationally.”
In February, the Commissioner announced a new technology partnership which has seen Boeing become the Strategic IT Partner for Staffordshire Police. He wants Staffordshire to have a police service that can turn the table on crime, use information in a joined-up, effective way to protect communities and get ahead of criminals or potential harm. Boeing will bring transformational capability to Staffordshire Police, providing new cutting edge technology and greater opportunities to work more effectively with partner organisations and local communities – as well as greater capability in fighting crime. It will dramatically improve the capability and capacity of Staffordshire Police and save money compared to the current annual running costs for IT for the Police.
The new Lichfield base is expected to open early in 2017.