PLANNING permission has been granted for a new central police hub in Portsmouth.
The new £18m Police Investigation Centre (PIC) will be built on the Merlin Park development, off Airport Service Road in Copnor.
When finished it will replace Fratton station, in Kingston Crescent, and Portsmouth Central in Winston Churchill Avenue.
Boasting 36 cells, the new station will be designed to cover police activity in the east side of Hampshire.
Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Michael Lane said: ‘I am delighted to confirm that we have achieved planning permission for this new centre. This is really good news for the community, operational policing and Portsmouth generally.
‘This building will support the community and it will help to keep us safer.
‘It will provide shelter and care for everyone using it, including appropriate care for those who have caused others harm.
‘This PIC will be forward looking and supports the community in keeping us safer.’
Construction is expected to start later this year, with the site due to open in spring 2019.
Mr Lane added: ‘It delivers on my promise to give this project my focus and priority and it will support my objective to keep us safer.
‘This new centre builds on the achievement of our centres in Southampton and Basingstoke to bring constabulary colleagues together for more effective and efficient delivery of the policing service.
‘I am really grateful to my partners in Portsmouth City Council and the senior team who have been with me on this journey to deliver a much needed resource for the city.’
The stations in Fratton, Portsmouth Central, Havant and Fareham will be sold when the new site opens.
Waterlooville station, which has 12 custody cells, will be refurbished and kept.