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Kent Police and Essex Police are committed to providing a rationalised and efficient estate that supports the current and future needs of operational policing, as well as providing value for money, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. In Essex, a sizeable project has been undertaken to completely refurbish the dilapidated Southend-on-Sea Police Station. The original 1960s building has been totally refurbished and refitted, and work is on schedule for the old 22-cell custody suite to be upgraded to a 30-cell suite with multiple ancillary rooms.
The main station reopened on 23rd May to the public, and staff from the Local Policing Teams have moved back into the newly refurbished office space, with the remaining teams planned once the custody building is complete. An official reopening ceremony was held on 17th June.
We recognise the importance of strong communication with our communities and staff. Southend Police Station is one of the prominent stations of the county and it is acknowledged that a policing presence is of high importance to the public so it was crucial to ensure the community were aware of the station closure and the alternative facilities.
The information circulated included maps demonstrating the alternative arrangements for enquiries at Westcliff Police Station, as well as the website and social media account details so that the community (178,700 in Southend) could stay in contact and up to date with the latest information by multiple means.
Estate is one of the highest costs to the organisations and due to the nature of the business, policing understandably has a largely city/town centre presence. It is therefore imperative that we make best use of the space that we have.
Following a feasibility study, the decision to refurbish the original building (whilst also taking advantage of the opportunity to maximise the available space by way of extension to the boundary) was the most cost effective and did not lose any benefits. The refurbishment design was completed in-house, making a significant saving without compromising on innovation and quality.
Open plan work space
The station previously comprised 49 offices across 3 floors. A complete redesign of the first and second floors has reduced the number of offices from 43 to 18, providing large open plan spaces which hold significantly larger numbers of people and use floor space more effectively. An additional mezzanine floor in the old sports hall has added a further 76 desk spaces alone. The increased capacity for agile working will contribute to reduced travel costs and carbon emissions.
In addition, some of the cost of the project included £100,000 worth of safe asbestos removal as large quantities of this were found across the building, thereby generating a significant environmental benefit.
Other forces in the country have undertaken custody refurbishment and new build projects which also demonstrate Southend’s value for money;
The project has enabled the closure of three other local stations which will also enable annual revenue savings and a reduced carbon footprint;
Products have been carefully selected to enhance value for money. Whilst the main building is now glass fronted, security reasons prevent this continuing into the custody block. The court service building next to the police station has limestone cladding on the external walls but this product is very expensive. At a fraction of the cost, an alternative rain screen cladding product with a mineral composite finish has been utilised which is aesthetically very similar and is in keeping with the surrounding environment.
Partnerships have been extremely important throughout the project. As well as the multiple contractors, partner agencies have been instrumental to the successful running of the project, in particular Southend Borough Council and HM Courts & Tribunal Service.
Innovation and Product Selection/Diversity:
Environmentally friendly products have been used as part of the continued commitment to reducing the carbon footprint. Examples of this include the external glazing of the main building and the addition of a solar panel to the custody building.
The old single glazing has been replaced with solar glass double glazing. This innovative product contributes to the retention of (and resistance to) heat within the building, reducing heating and cooling costs. Ceramic graphite paint has been added to surface 3 of the glazing, which not only limits the views into the building from outside but also gives the original building a modern look and feel.
A new solar panel system is being installed as part of the custody building which will generate the hot water for the entire custody operation.
The vast majority of luminaires are LED based with efficiencies achieving 138 chip lumens per watt, with the luminaire efficiency being 121.4 luminaire lumens per circuit watt. This is double the target figure of 60 luminaire lumens per circuit watt required by Part L2 building regulations. Fittings also include a daylight sensor, meaning the illumination is consistently maintained in conjunction with the natural light of the space. Whilst the initial cost of this lighting system is greater, it is offset by the revenue and carbon savings. The Carbon Trust states that occupancy sensors can reduce electricity use by 30% and daylight sensors can reduce electricity use by up to 40%.
The daylight sensors are also being installed in custody for the first time. The intelligent redesign of the building has enabled the retention of some of the original window spaces in custody. In combination with the addition of ‘sun pipes’ for the internal windowless cells in order to provide natural daylight, these solutions further contribute to the reduced lighting costs.
Carbon Reduction Commitment:
The identified enablers to our carbon reduction;
Calculations using previous data and benchmarking information at this stage, show the anticipated saving in utility consumption for the main building as being between 35-40%.
There is a dedicated live link room for police officers to give evidence from. This can also be used for vulnerable victims and witnesses to give evidence not only within the Essex courts but across the country, enabling a less traumatic experience of the criminal justice system and also reducing the associated travel costs and carbon emissions. Essex Police saves an average of 3000 miles per month as a result of the countywide live link facilities used by police officers. The availability of this for members of the public required to give evidence will increase this figure.
A new Virtual Court facility will be installed in the custody suite which enables a detainee to appear before any court (with the appropriate facilities) without being physically transported. A similar scheme in Kent Police has already been implemented and is estimated to have saved approximately 100 miles per week in court runs.
This refurbishment project has transformed an outdated police station into a modern, effective and environmentally friendly workspace. It has inspired the regeneration of the surrounding area and is the lead in the Essex estate rationalisation programme. It is being completed on time, within budget and at exceptional value for money.