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New estate strategy shifts focus

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has outlined her office’s strategy for the police estate over the next four years.

New estate strategy shifts focus

The Estate Strategy 2017-21 reflects the shift in focus from radical rationalisation to strategic re-provisioning.

It will help deliver the police and crime commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and the chief constable’s ‘Policing Promise’ by supporting sustainable operational policing and better connectivity with communities through the ‘Connect to Protect’ framework.

Further collaboration with partners offers new opportunities for integration, and together with modernised facilities, shared spaces will drive down the running costs of the property portfolio without reducing locations.

Over the next five years, the strategy will focus on:

  • Accessibility – providing space where it is needed for the public to interact with our staff and officers;
  • Flexibility – adapting to changes in the workforce mix, the operating model and maximising partner opportunities;
  • Integration – exploring where we can share premises with partners in places which enhance services;
  • Efficiency – driving down running costs and enabling capital reinvestment to support diverse police functions;
  • Wellness – providing safe and healthy working environments.

“Through this Estate Strategy 2017-21 I will provide a well maintained, fit for purpose and flexible estate to support safe, resilient and connected communities,” said Ms Hernandez.

“I will ensure we embrace the opportunities afforded by mobile data, look to enhance our presence in communities, maximise benefits from smarter working and use our estate to support volunteering as much as we can.

“I will continue to invest in improving existing accommodation and will deliver new facilities like the much needed custody replacement in Exeter.

“We will continue to pursue collaboration and integration opportunities with partners – making best use of public money and improving the way we work together to keep the public safe.

“Where estate is no longer needed we will seek to get the best value for it – so we can reinvest in policing. By doing all of this we can make sure our estate enables efficient and effective policing.”

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “The Force estate is one of the most important assets within the portfolio of the OPCC and the future direction and development of it is integral to the sustainability of police services across our geography. The best and most efficient use of our estate is critical to operational policing and helps to ensure best value for our tax-paying communities.

"I welcome the publication of this strategy as it clearly sets out the link between the Chief Constable and PCC in their respective roles and it will help shape how the Police and Crime Plan is delivered geographically but also increasingly in the development of digital communication and community engagement.”

Key highlights

  • The nine existing enquiry offices will be retained with other stations continuing to provide an appointments system.
  • We will work more closely with operational teams to ensure buildings are fit for purpose for modern day policing.
  • The primary driver of the Estate Strategy 2017-21 is no longer location reduction.
  • The Estate Strategy 2017-21 will support the Police and Crime Plan in maintaining a physical presence in local areas.
  • It is intended to bring together the estate work for both Devon and Cornwall and Dorset into an alliance function.
  • Partnership opportunities will be extended to include all partners, private sector, public sector and voluntary sector.
  • We will explore, on an area by area basis, the demand for policing services and how the estate can support the ‘Connect to Protect’ mission.
  • We will look at building adaptations to make best use of our existing space and support the growth in officer numbers across local policing and criminal investigation teams.
  • We will roll out Smart Working drop in hubs at Middlemoor and Crownhill to allow officers and staff to work more efficiently when away from their normal place of work;
  • We will pilot public access points, “Safe Place” points and drop-in spaces to engage with communities.

The strategy will be scrutinised by the Police and Crime Panel at it's meeting on Friday 1 December.