Chief Superintendent Gideon Springer, the Borough Commander, has written the following message to councillors about how the police are examining ways in which to make sure their estate in the borough is fit for the 21st century.
As you know the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) are concerned that we should deliver the best possible service to every community in London. We have prioritised having at least one 24 hour police station in every borough and ensuring that there are other contact points and front counters throughout the capital. Not all of these are fit for purpose in the longer term and we have been modernising our estate.
The challenges for all of us in the public sector are, at the same time, becoming more acute. MOPAC and the MPS are, as doubtless you are also, considering how best we can use our estate and our facilities to achieve greater productivity and better service with less financial input.
The MPS and MOPAC objective is to maintain London as the safest global city, ensure that the public see police officers on the street and are able to access police services through the most immediate means possible. Increasingly as for all public services, mobile digital technology and use of the internet means that our officers do not need to be captured within buildings, but can be out on the street.
In Hammersmith & Fulham, as elsewhere in London, we are keen to reduce costs by making our estate use as efficient as possible whilst delivering on all of the commitments that I have set out above. We now have some specific plans. These plans will mean that we are making significant investment in Hammersmith Police Station and changing the focus of Fulham Police Station to make better use of that site, whilst retaining the front counter.
Hammersmith Police Station, in the centre of the Borough, is an important site for us, but its current configuration fails to provide a modern policing facility. We have wasted space and cannot, as it stands, achieve our ambitions to operate in a digitally enabled twenty-first century fashion.
We would therefore like to make major improvements to the existing building to deliver new state-of-the-art facilities including a new 30 cell custody suite – as well as improved and expanded stables that would maintain the popular presence of mounted police in the Hammersmith area. Modernising Hammersmith Police Station, whilst requiring investment up front, will reduce the running costs of the estate and also make more efficient use of space and allow for a more flexible workspace. It will also have the benefit of demonstrating our long term commitment to a substantial physical presence in the Borough.
The new Hammersmith Police Station will be our 24/7 Front Counter as now.
In addition to the investment at Hammersmith Police Station, MOPAC and the MPS are also undertaking to make better use of the Fulham Police Station site. This currently operates at just 35% utilisation meaning that the majority of the site can be released, reducing running costs and releasing significant capital value, whilst still maintaining a Front Counter on the site.
The current intention is that the site will be sold by MOPAC to the Education Funding Agency conditional on the retention of suitable Front Counter provision on site.
The capital receipt from Fulham will be reinvested into new and improved facilities and to support the work that we intend to undertake at Hammersmith, as well as the IT necessary to improve officer performance and frontline policing, delivering a better service to the public.
At a very early meeting between Hammersmith & Fulham Planning Officers and representatives from the MPS Property Services Department in June 2015, our concepts for proposed improvements at Hammersmith Police Station were welcomed including our intention to retain the Grade II Listed façade. The MPS Property Services Department has now arranged a formal pre-application meeting with your planning officers as well as a site visit, and once plans have progressed we will hold a public consultation and I would personally be very keen to discuss these proposals with you.
I hope that you will be supportive of our proposals. In particular, there will be a temporary need for officers and staff to move out of Hammersmith Police Station as the works are carried out, but we can maintain the majority of these in alternative facilities, such as Empress State Building, within Hammersmith & Fulham for that period, and I would be happy to discuss with you the shared use of council or other premises.
I do hope this update is useful. I would very much welcome the chance to discuss these proposals with you as well as how we maintain the scale and shape of services in the Borough in these testing times. I will be in touch to arrange a meeting and discuss further shortly.
Borough Commander Hammersmith and Fulham Borough