Work has started on a new £18 million custody suite for Bedfordshire Police at its Kempston headquarters.
The suite, due for completion in 2022, will include a 22-cell custody block, offices for police and staff, and extra parking.
It’s the first major new building the force has undertaken since 2005 and will replace the existing temporary custody suite at Kempston.
The new facility will bring the force’s investigation teams under one roof, “fostering closer working between different departments and offering a better working environment.”
“This is a major and much-needed investment in our force estate which will enormously improve our custody facilities in Bedfordshire,” said Chief Constable Garry Forsyth.
“I have no doubt that this new facility will have a positive impact on the force for years to come.”
Willmott Dixon, who are based nearby in Hertfordshire will be carrying out construction of the building.
Chris Tredget, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon, said: “Having built similar facilities in the region, we are collaborating closely with them [Bedfordshire Police] to ensure that the facility will meet all of their requirements and needs, providing a state-of-the-art building and better environment for all.”
The building of the site also has an added benefit of not only securing the Bedfordshire Police’s HQ in Kempston but could also become a joint emergency services HQ.
As she ‘broke ground’ on the building site, PPC Holloway said: “With the new accommodation above custody this also leaves the invitation open for our good friends at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to consider whether they might wish to join us eventually on a combined blue light site.”
The building holding the current custody suite will be sold on when it’s no longer needed.