Police say they hope to raise public awareness of a base in Kettering which will be used as a focus for operations in the north of the county.
The Pytchley Specialist Operations Base, just off junction nine of the A14, has been open for more than 20 years, primarily housing armed response vehicles and taking care of roads including the A14, the A6, the A45 and the A43.
But Inspector Neil Dorothy, who has been stationed there since last month, says that he hopes to bring a new focus to the base, with officers there supporting their colleagues on a whole range of other operations in Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Rushden and elsewhere around the county.
An automatic number plate recognition monitoring device is situated at the base to track down drivers without valid insurance, while police also focus on the “fatal four” of speeding, driving while using a phone handset, drink-driving and not wearing seatbelts.
But Insp Dorothy said: “It’s important for people to understand we are here and not just looking after the A14, but also working in partnership with local safer community teams.
“Since April 1, the use of this building changed considerably. There hasn’t been an inspector here almost since it opened.”
And although Insp Dorothy said police at the base were very clearly still responsible for road policing, they were no longer working in isolation.
He added: “They are also actively out working with the local area divisions to support them.”
It means the issues which should be focused on will be decided at a force level, and police at the Pytchley base could then be tasked with supporting things like anti-burglary operations, or other roles away from their traditional focus on the roads.
“This isn’t an open police station per se. What we want to achieve is utilise what was once a traffic base.
“It’s about us raising the profile and using the resources here better.”
The base, in Pegasus Court near the Kettering Odeon cinema, is not an open police station and police, who now want to raise its profile, say many members of the public have no idea it is situated there.
The Highways Agency, who still occupy part of the complex, gave part of it to the police for their work on the A14.
The building was opened in the early 1990s by Roger Freeman, the then Kettering MP and minister for public tranport in John Major’s Conservative Government.