‘A landmark moment for policing and crime prevention’: Lancashire Police look to the future with new HQ
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New investment proposals, which are part of Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden's ten-year plan to make the constabulary more efficient, will see funds being pumped into areas such as the dogs and mounted branch, specialist and technical training, fleet maintenance, cyber and crime teams, and contact management.
The constabulary’s headquarters in South Ribble will also be modernised, with the initial three phases of the project set to cost £75m and take four-to-five years to complete. With the last round of infrastructure investment having taken place in the ‘90s, some of the oldest HQ buildings date back to the ‘40s, necessitating a change to meet the digital and technological needs of a 21st century police force.
“The transformation of Lancashire Constabulary's HQ site would be a landmark moment for policing and crime prevention in Lancashire,” says Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden. “The poor current constabulary infrastructure is the result of decades of underinvestment going back to the 1990s.
“The proposed plans to redevelop the sites would enable the replacement of buildings that are no longer safe or fit for purpose for modern day policing,” he adds. “Investment in critical police infrastructure will ensure we can stay ahead of ever-changing demand, particularly in the areas of digital and cybercrime which continue to evolve at enormous pace.”
Policing has been hit hard over the past 12 years, with the National Police Chief’s Council claiming that detection- and charge-rates have dropped as a direct result of austerity measures imposed by successive coalition and Conservative governments and the decrease in the number of police officers since 2010.
According to Home Office data, there were 142,759 police officers in England and Wales in June 2022 compared with 143,734 in March 2011, despite the fact that, during the intervening 11 years, the population has increased by some 3.5m people resulting in a real-terms decrease in the number of police officers per 100,000 people of 11%.
"I’m delivering more boots on the ground, funding an anti-social behaviour problem-solving team, more specialist equipment to beat criminals, expanding rural policing numbers, creating dedicated rape and sexual assault teams, and urban task forces to take the fight to drug dealers and criminals in our area,” continues the commissioner.
“But we will not fully deliver on my Fighting Crime Plan without the police having the right infrastructure to enable the most efficient, effective, and cutting-edge ways of working,” he adds. “Combined with the Government police uplift programme, this will ensure that Lancashire Constabulary is a crime fighting force fit for the future."
Welcoming news of a modernised HQ was Chief Constable Chris Rowley, who explains: “The vast majority of buildings on both sites, whilst still operational, are no longer fit for purpose and haven’t been for quite some time. It is the right time to commit to the programme and ensure we have a safe and secure site that meets the needs of our staff and enables the delivery of exceptional policing to our communities.”