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New North Yorkshire Police HQ ‘may be a joint 999 base’
A NEW headquarters for North Yorkshire Police could be built in the county as soon as 2016, it has been announced.
Plans to close and sell the force’s Newby Wiske headquarters, which is Grade II listed and costs more than £1 million each year to run and maintain, were confirmed yesterday at a press conference with police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan and chief constable Dave Jones.
It was also revealed that the force had narrowed down the search for new sites to “two or three” in the Thirsk area, and it might seek to create a joint HQ with another emergency service.
Mr Jones said: “We obviously want to attract people to come and work for North Yorkshire Police and newer facilities will help that, along with new ways of working.
“We cannot afford to stay here in the long term, as it will become more and more expensive to maintain and just does not give us the facilities we require.”
In recent years a number of problems with the current headquarters have been reported, including intermittent “dips” in the power supply, connectivity difficulties between the main building and smaller units on the site, and accessibility issues in bad weather and flooding.
Plans for the new base have yet to be finalised, but are expected to include new IT systems and a new custody suite, meaning the new headquarters would also be an active police station, unlike the current HQ.
The recent revamp of Harrogate police station, which features a similar custody suite, cost between £11 and £18 million. But the cost of the new Thirsk headquarters is not yet known, with plans expected to go to tender in coming months.
Mrs Mulligan also said the force was considering working in partnership with organisations such as North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, and using the new complex as a joint base, but plans were in the very early stages.
She said: “We are hoping people will be starting to move into the new base by 2016, 2017, so it’s a fairly ambitious timescale, and we will be looking to negotiate with the owners of the potential sites in the coming months. We need to keep our officers out on the beat in their local communities, that’s our over-arching priority.
“We have to look at ways to save money, because we can’t do that if we don’t.
“The public want their officers and PCSOs out and about, and this will facilitate that.”
Public consultation on the new facility will begin once a location has been selected.
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