HAMPSHIRE police is to spend £83m on a revised estates programme which will see the force make full use of the Alpha Park site near Eastleigh.
Members of Hampshire Police Authority - which holds the purse strings for policing in our area - today approved a recommendation in the force’s updated Estates Development Programme to use the site for ‘operational support.’
It had previously decided that part of the site - bought in 2009 for £9m - would be sold off as Hampshire police battles to save £54m by April 2015 due to government spending cuts.
Now Alpha Park will be fully utilised.
And the force will push forward with plans for four new custody centres - to be known as police investigation centres.
Police say the plan will be cost neutral - and that in five years time the cost of maintaining its estate will annually cost almost £200,000 less - with better quality buildings.
Savings will come from the sale of the force’s West Hill headquarters in Winchester and other unsuitable buildings - reducing the total from 103 to 66.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall welcomed the decision. He said: ‘This strategy is to support in the long term the position of the constabulary in reducing crime and catching criminals and having a good working environment for the smaller workforce that we have and will have in the future.
‘We have been very mindful of the authority’s direction that the revenue consequences of this should be cost neutral at the end of the programme.
‘The priorities for me are about having good custody provision to allow us to investigate crime successfully. We know that if we can put the teams of investigators and detectives who can investigate serious crime quickly we are more likely to have success, and we are more likely to have uniformed officers back out in their local areas.
‘I am very pleased that what we are proposing results in a small headquarters.’
Alpha Park was originally bought to replace the force’s headquarters at West Hill, Winchester, which are not considered fit for purpose.
It will eventually house the force’s armed response vehicles, information and communication technology, the force enquiry centre and central workshops.
The force will also store seized vehicles there instead of paying a third party.
And Alpha Park will now house 600 workers instead of 200 as previously planned.
Meanwhile a recommendation for police authority members to give the go-ahead for the purchase completion and refurbishment of Mottisfont Court in Winchester as the force’s new headquarters was also approved.
It is estimated Mottisfont Court could be in use by Autumn 2013 and house 170 staff.
The move comes as the force continues to make savings elsewhere.
Already services are being shared with neighbouring forces including Thames Valley, police stations and front desks have shut.
About 1,100 of the workforce - about 400 officers and 700 staff posts - are being axed.
Today’s move marks the police authority’s last major decision on the future of policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight before it is abolished in November.
From November 22 the newly elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) for our area will take charge of the force’s purse strings.
The PCC will have powers to review the decision.