First look at Weston-super-Mare’s new police centre
PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 03 August 2017
The Mercury was given an exclusive first look inside Weston’s new police centre this week as it officially opened for business.
The Mercury was given an exclusive first look inside Weston-super-Mare’s new police headquarters this week as it officially opened for business.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary has been gradually moving into the new base, in Weston Gateway Business Park near the M5, for the past few month but it officially opened on Monday.
The new police response centre will help the force save money, which has been an important factor following cuts to the force in 2010, and carry out policing in an ‘effective and efficient’ way.
Officers have now moved out of the old Weston station, in Walliscote Road, but neighbourhood beat teams will remain based in their communities.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “This building is fit for purpose, we have newer technology available and the more police officers who have mobile technology, the more they will be able to be out and about and patrolling their communities.
“(Chief Constable) Andy Marsh and I have said we will ringfence our neighbourhood policing teams. We get that they are absolutely crucial in keeping people confident in their police.”
The new J21 station will not be open to the public but will house five policing teams, including the investigations and response units.
The desk in Weston Town Hall will remain open and accessible to the public from Monday to Saturday.
Chief Con Marsh told the Mercury it is important to provide the ‘best possible services’ the force can.
He added: “This is a better base for us, it is a place to provide more effective and efficient police services to people in Weston and the surrounding villages.
“It will reduce our revenue costs which will enable us, in the long run, to protect the number of police officers and staff which work for Avon and Somerset.”
The force decided to move out of its old station as it was no longer ‘fit for purpose’, with multiple floors and a custody suite which were not used.
The building is expected to be demolished to make way for new high-end housing.
Chief Con Marsh added: “If we stayed in that building it would have cost us more money, which would have cost us more police officers as we have a limited budget.
“It was a building which needed a lot of money spent on it which we did not have.
“Since 2010, Avon and Somerset has taken around £65million out of its revenue budget in real terms and that has meant a reduction of about 750 police officers.
“Our revenue estate costs is now £2million cheaper a year than it was back in 2010.
“This building is a lower cost estate with a lower revenue cost and it will protect the officers and staff we have.
“I am passionate about my job and we should have more funding but I have to do the best with what we have got.”
To take a video tour of the new station, visit www.westonmercury.co.uk