PLANS for a major police hub have taken a step forward after a site has been secured.
The city’s Police Investigation Centre has been beset by problems, having been due to be in place this spring.
This is really good news for the community, operational policing and Portsmouth generallyMichael Lane
Fears were raised after the previous crime commissioner suggested it could be built in Havant instead.
But now police and crime commissioner Michael Lane has agreed a lease for a site at the Merlin Park Development off Airport Service Road, which joins Eastern Road.
When the base is up and running from spring 2019 it will force the sale of Fratton, Portsmouth Central, Havant and Fareham stations.
Waterlooville station, which has 12 custody cells, will be refurbished and kept.
Mr Lane said: ‘I am delighted to confirm that we have concluded negotiations with the owners to take a lease on this site. This is really good news for the community, operational policing and Portsmouth generally.
‘It delivers on my promise to give this project my focus and priority and it will support my objective to keep us safer.
‘I am delighted we are making progress after a long and frustrating wait.
Portsmouth Central and Fareham stations will be used until 2019 as they respectively have 29 and 14 custody cells. The new building will have 36.
Chief constable Olivia Pinkney backs the location, Mr Lane’s spokeswoman said.
Councillor Stephen Morgan, Labour ward member for Charles Dickens at Portsmouth City Council, campaigned to keep Portsmouth Central station.
‘It’s a loss to the city that it’s going as it’s in such a central city centre location in the heart of Portsmouth,’ Cllr Morgan told The News.
He added he wants a publicly-open front desk for people to report crime to police.
The centre is designed to improve efficiency with CID teams based next to custody.
Mr Lane added: ‘I have spoken to Cllr Donna Jones, and I look forward to working with Portsmouth City Council and their planning department to obtain the necessary consents subject to normal due diligence, quickly enabling us to build the new centre on this site.’
Neighbourhood police, response teams and district commander will be based in Guildhall Square.
How police stations are changing
WHEN the police investigation centre is finally built it will have a ripple effect.
The Eastern Pic will serve the city, Fareham, Gosport, Waterlooville, Havant and Hayling Island.
Portsmouth Central: Sold when the Pic opens; neighbourhood, response and commander to Civic Offices.
Fratton: Closed and sold in 2019 as CID move to Pic.
Southsea: Response officers already moved to fire station; due to be closed completely.
Cosham: Neighbourhood move to Medina House; response to civic offices.
Fareham: Sold when Pic opens as custody cells currently still needed; neighbourhood teams move to borough Civic Offices early next year.
Fareham Reach: New 999 team base in Gosport Road.
Gosport: Police station on the market; neighbourhood teams moved into Town Hall.
Havant: Sold when Pic opens; negotiations over neighbourhood teams moving to Public Service Plaza.
Hayling Island: Police station already closed; neighbourhood team in library.
Waterlooville: Retained with its 12 custody cells; front counter, response and neighbourhood teams remain.