A ‘TOPPING OUT’ ceremony to mark a major milestone towards the completion of Merseyside Police’s new Headquarters has taken place.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy and Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM signed the last piece of steel to be installed at the £48m centre at the ceremony, marking the end of the main construction phase of the project.
Once the steel framework is complete, work can begin on kitting out the bespoke four-storey Headquarters, which will act as Merseyside Police’s flagship base on a key gateway into the city centre, overlooking Scotland Road and the entrance to the Queensway tunnel, while helping to regenerate the Everton area.
The state-of-the-art 12,800m2 centre will bring more than 1,100 officers and staff under one roof once it opens its doors in September 2021, freeing up a number of leased buildings and helping the force to save approximately £250,000 a year on its running costs.
Construction at the site began in September 2019 after the Commissioner and Chief Constable ceremonially turned the first sod at the brownfield site, which is adjacent to the force’s existing station on St Anne Street.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “What an achievement! Last September, the Chief Constable and I were here to ‘turn the first sod’ on what was a large muddy field but in a fantastic location, looking down over Liverpool city centre and the River Mersey.
“Less than nine months on and in spite of the complications thrown up by Covid-19, this impressive structure has come to life, acting as a proud guardian over this key gateway into the city. We are now a major step closer towards the completion of a brand new, much-needed Headquarters for Merseyside Police.
“Today is an important day for the teams of designers, architects and builders who have been working so hard on this project since planning permission was first granted. It is also great news for local people, knowing that it will help breathe new life into their area.
“This new Headquarters is the visible proof of the determination that the Chief Constable and I share to provide the officers and staff of Merseyside Police with the best facilities we can afford, to help them fight crime now and into the future.
“Canning Place opened its doors in 1977 and it has been a loyal servant for the last 40 years, but sadly it is no longer fit for purpose and it is very costly to run. The force needs modern facilities and equipment which will make them more effective and efficient. This new headquarters will do just that, saving approximately £250,000 a year in running costs compared to the existing headquarters, while helping the force to continue to protect our communities for years to come.”
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “It’s incredible to see how the building has progressed in the last eight months and I know officers and staff are excited about moving to the new premises in September next year.
“It is vital that we have a building that is fit for purpose, cost effective and efficient. This new HQ will help us to provide officers and staff with modern and sustainable facilities and equipment, which are vital maintaining our ability to deliver an efficient and effective service for the people of Merseyside.”
Money saved on the running costs of the new headquarters compared to Canning Place can be directed straight into frontline policing.
The new Headquarters has been part funded by capital specifically set aside for the Force’s buildings and part borrowed from approved sources, in accordance with the Prudential Code for capital finance. This money is separate from the funding used to pay for Merseyside’s Police’s officers and staff and cannot be diverted to fund operational policing.
It is also hoped that a large portion of the cost of the new Headquarters will be recouped through the sale of Canning Place, recently described as ‘the best regeneration opportunity in the entire country’.