More police officers move into Portsmouth ahead of £18m centre being built

An artist's  impression of the Police Investigation Centre, due to be built in Portsmouth.
An artist's impression of the Police Investigation Centre, due to be built in Portsmouth.

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INVESTIGATORS from across the area have moved to the city ahead of a new £18m police centre opening.

Detectives and police staff investigators from surrounding stations, including Fareham and Gosport CID, are now based at Fratton police station in Kingston Crescent while the potential site of a new central hub is still being found.

Work on the police investigation centre (PIC) is due to complete in April 2016 and will house all detectives.

It comes as Superintendent Will Schofield told The News officers are moving toward a ‘borderless’ way of working – meaning staff will not be restricted to working on certain areas.

He said: ‘Detectives, uniform officers and police staff investigators are working from a hub here. The aim is again to soften the borders.

‘We’ve traditionally been very geographically focussed but there are inefficiencies in it.

‘We’ve got to do that, we’ve got a lot less money.’

Both Supt Schofield, Portsmouth’s top officer, and police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes say that neighbourhood policing remains a top priority – with those staying put.

Mr Hayes, who launched a review of Hampshire police’s estate in 2013, said: ‘We need to be smarter in the way that we operate but the emphasis is on neighbourhood policing.

‘In order to do that we need to save some money.

‘This is against a backdrop of quite severe government grant reductions.’

He added that meant selling off police buildings that will not be used.

The force has to save £25m by April 2017 and it has already saved £55m since 2010. A further £10m was cut last year bringing the total to £90m.

All safer neighbourhood teams across the force are set to relocate by December 2016.

Portsmouth neighbourhood officers are to move into the Guildhall.

Gosport officers are to move into the town hall and Fareham officers will move into the civic centre.

The custody cells in Waterlooville are to be refurbished by December.

More than 400 officers will work at the PIC, with similar centres in Southampton and Basingstoke.

The one in Southampton already exists and is set to be restructured, and the one in Basingstoke opens in December this year.