New police station for Devonport
By Plymouth Herald | Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 05:30
AFTER years of waiting, planning and hoping, Devonport has got a new police station, set in its very heart.
TO THIS... The new station on the corner of Chapel Street and Fore Street
FROM THIS... The old Marlborough Road station
PC Nikki Lugger in one of the open plan offices. Right: Neighbourhood team leader Sgt Sid Siddall outside
DC Tracey Stockton and DC Mike Lugger in their new office with Devonport views
In front of officers, detectives, councillors, MPs, and representatives from a host of partner agencies, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority chairman Mike Bull unveiled a plaque to herald a new era for the west of the city.
The state-of-the-art three-storey £3.36m station on the corner of Chapel Street and Fore Street will now become the base for 147 officers – made up of neighbourhood, response and local investigation teams.
With its solar thermal/hot water system, photovoltaic system for energy generation and underfloor heating in the ground floor locker room, it is one of Devon and Cornwall Police's greenest buildings.
The go-ahead was given around six years ago after it was agreed the dingy Marlborough Street station – a former bank built in the 1950s – was not fit for purpose. It was described by Mr Bull as "quite the worst police station in the force area".
Up until recently officers were even forced to work out of freezing cold temporary buildings stacked up in the Marlborough Street car park, while Devonport's detectives were first based at the rented Prynn Court in Millfields and then at Charles Cross police station.
Acting Chief Insp Sally Hutchings, said she remembered petitioning then Plymouth commander Chief Supt Morris Watts and then Chair of the Police Authority David Money nearly eight years ago for a new building in the heart of the community.
Now the regeneration of Devonport is almost complete, she felt it was right the area also had its own dedicated police station.
She said: "Devonport's community needs a police station where we can bring everyone together.
"Over time, we've had to negotiate for the building, it's been reduced by half by the cuts and we've had lots of other challenges.
"The community deserves this. There's been a lot of regeneration in Devonport and we have to show our investment in the community too.
"It will be a better service and it makes better sense to have CID, response and neighbourhood officers all in one place. It also gives us room to invite in our partners like Neighbourhood Watch and local councillors."
The building has suffered additional delays after lead contamination was discovered in the ground, and huge underground voids, left behind from World War II bombing by the Luftwaffe, were found.
However, contractor Midas were able to hand over the building on time and on budget.
With interview and conference rooms, as well as a small canteen, the station is also home to a large plaque bearing the oath all officers take on joining the constabulary.
The plaque – requested by Plymouth's local policing Chief Insp Ian Drummond-Smith – will soon be joined by another stating police founder Sir Robert Peel's nine principles of policing.
Chief Insp Drummond-Smith said: "Marlborough Street just wasn't fit for purpose. The officers at Devonport have waited a long time for the new station, which will be in the heart of their policing community and offer a much better standard of accommodation."