Council leader urges action over delayed Portsmouth police station

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PRESSURE is mounting on police to secure a site for the city’s new hub.

A new building was supposed to be in place this year to house CID teams and a custody suite but has been hit by delays.

Now Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, has urged the crime commissioner to secure a deal.

The police investigation centre (Pic) was due to have been built this April.

Cllr Jones, leader of the ruling Conservative group, said: ‘The police are looking to build on a site in south-east Hampshire and several sites have been looked at and for various reasons the police have not been able to progress.

‘We’ve had Portsmouth City Council surveyors and asset managers assisting the police with potential sites in Portsmouth.

‘We’ve suggested sites around Lakeside and the former News centre.

‘It’s imperative that we get the Pic in Portsmouth and more importantly that we find somewhere quickly.

‘I have real concerns, not only the fact it’s a two-year build time.

‘I have real concerns the plans have not been able to progress sooner.’

Fellow Tory Michael Lane is Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner with responsibility for Hampshire Constabulary’s estates.

A major force-wide shake-up was launched by his predecessor Simon Hayes, which has seen the closure of local police stations and neighbourhood officers sharing space with councils.

It comes as the force has been hit with £80m of cuts in recent years.

Just last week neighbourhood police officers in the south of Portsmouth moved into Southsea fire station, with a 999 response team base still in the works.

Basingstoke and Southampton both have a police hub, with Portsmouth’s building supposed to be the final one.

In an interview with The News in August, Mr Lane said it was ‘unsatisfactory’ no deal had yet been signed.

Chief Inspector Kevin McCarthy, deputy director for estates, said a deal for land in Portsmouth was not in place.

‘We’ve had challenges identifying a piece of land,’ he said.

It has been previously suggested the building could be split between a refurbished Fratton station, in Kingston Crescent, and Portsmouth Central, in Winston Churchill Avenue. The city centre station contains custody cells.

In a statement Mr Lane said solving the problem had been a priority for him since being elected in March.

‘I share the understandable frustration of many that we do not yet have a guaranteed site.

‘I am determined to find a site as soon as possible, since it would be a major step forward and one long-awaited by the people of Portsmouth – and no less by police and staff who work to keep us all safer.

‘Portsmouth City Council is an essential partner in this desire and has a key role to play as well as my own.

‘This task will stay at the top of my in-tray until we can make progress.’