The new Police Criminal Justice Centre (CJC) which will replace custody facilities at Wellingborough, Campbell Square and Weston Favell police stations has been officially opened.
Chairman of Northamptonshire Police Authority, Deirdre Newham, Chief Constable Adrian Lee and Assistant Chief Officer (Resources) Linda Charker with representatives of the officers and staff involved in the planning, construction and delivery of the new building, officially opened the centre at Northampton Business Park on the Brackmills estate, Northampton, on Thursday (August 23).
The group unveiled a plaque recording the names of some of the key personnel involved in the project, which was built by a Rushden firm, and the departments they represent.
Mrs Newham told guests the opening of the centre marked the successful completion of eight years of work.
She said: “The Criminal Justice Centre was part of the shared vision of the force and Police Authority, to ensure the police service in our county is positioned in the best possible way to meet the needs of a growing population.
“It will replace very outdated custody premises and create a multi-purpose facility that allows the force to move out of expensive and inefficient property elsewhere.
“This prestigious new building achieves exactly that and, having been involved in this development since day one, on a personal note it is a very special moment for me to be able take part in the opening ceremony.
“I’m also delighted to report that the project is under budget, with significant savings on the original costings.
“This has been achieved through a competitive re-tender, innovative design and engineering by our contractors, as well as savings on equipment, fixtures and fittings.”
Chief Constable Lee said: “I’m delighted to take part in the opening of this impressive and much needed building.
“We gave a great deal of thought to who should officially open the new centre and decided that representatives of the various departments involved in this high profile project should be given the opportunity to undertake this honour.
“The CJC is a hugely important investment for the force and Police Authority.
“The benefits are significant in terms of providing the very best environment for our officers and staff, together with custody facilities and processes that best meet the needs of those we detain here for any period of time, many of whom are vulnerable.”
Assistant Chief Officer Linda Charker added: “The CJC is a vital addition to the force’s estate and a real investment for the future.
“It provides more than 44,000 square metres of space, including 40 modern cells and two floors of office space.
“The building was designed to allow the layout to be modified in the future as the need in the county changes.
“It has been a privilege to be part of such an important project for the county.”
Inspector Steven Gray represented the custody department at the opening ceremony and will be one of the officers working at the new centre.
He said: “The new custody facilities at the CJC are fantastic and a huge improvement for detainees and the officers and staff who work there.
“We are currently testing all the systems and processes to ensure a smooth transition when we transfer to the new site in September and my team and I are really looking forward to the move.”
The new custody centre will be fully operational from September 17 and will replace custody facilities at Campbell Square, Weston Favell and Wellingborough police stations.
Other departments relocating to the new centre include the Criminal Investigation Department, Protecting Vulnerable Persons and the Force Intelligence Bureau.
Staff from the Drug Intervention Programme and the Probation Service will also work within the CJC.
The Police Authority’s Independent Custody Visitors will continue to carry out checks on the welfare of detainees in custody at the new centre.
The building was designed by Archial Architects, Birmingham, and Pick Everard, Leicester, provided professional services throughout the project.
The centre was built by Rushden-based construction company, Kier Construction.