Update on the police property estate
The Essex Police property estate totals 1.25 million square foot and in excess of 80 properties. Many of the current buildings are old, in need of extensive and expensive maintenance and no longer fit for the demands and purposes of modern policing. The backlog of maintenance work required to these buildings has been estimated at £30 million, with an additional £1.75 million per year needed to maintain and keep the estate in its current condition.
It is my judgement, and that of Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, that these on-going costs cannot be justified. In order to deliver professional, effective, policing which is accessible to the public in the ways in which people tell us they want to communicate with Essex Police, we have decided that it is necessary to transform the property estate.
It is essential that a review of the existing property estate and plans for its future was informed by a professional analysis and evaluation. To fail to commission and conduct such an analysis would have been negligent and wrong.
Following a competitive tendering process, Mouchel Consulting was engaged to undertake work including:
1. A full condition survey of 80 properties. Full surveys were undertaken to allow for planned maintenance as well as future cash flow modelling for items requiring significant expenditure over the course of a 30 year period.
2. A full valuation of each site both as existing and a valuation of future hope value with alternative planning consents
3. A detailed options analysis which looked to grade the portfolio into operationally significant sites as well as highlight opportunities to add value as well as rationalise and better utilise the estate we currently have. This includes a strategic analysis about the possibilities to expand, reduce or maintain the current geographical footprint.
4. An HQ strategic Options Analysis, which includes full benchmarking exercise on the long list sites as well as Computer generated imagery and architectural layouts of future HQs. This will enable full cash flows to be produced as well as confirm acceptability of the HQ site.
5. A detailed Essex-wide property estate document which will put architectural and other key metrics into a coherent context for future estates strategy and transformation work.
The total cost of this consulting work is £240,000 plus VAT. This was commissioned through competitive tender, and I am assured that this is a fair market rate for work of this complexity.
As part of a formal process to identify possible locations for a new Essex Police headquarters, a long list of sites has now been reduced to three. Two of these sites are in Chelmsford and the other is elsewhere in the county. It would not be appropriate to identify the location of any of those three sites for reasons of commercial confidentiality and to ensure a fair market price is secured.
No decision was made as to the preferred site for a new Essex Police Headquarters at the meeting on Friday May 29.
Final decisions about the 30 or so core buildings which will be at the heart of the new Essex Police property estate have not yet been made. It is intended to share full details of the findings of the estates review in September 2015.
The following detail was set out in the paper provided to the Police and Crime Panel which can be read in full here.
The emerging Estates Strategy seeks to employ a hub and spoke type model with a single, large and centrally located Headquarters building. Around the new HQ will be ‘Hub’ Police Stations which will house the majority of operational officers. There will also be approximately 14 strategically located smaller police premises which will maintain a policing presence in local communities. This will see the portfolio reduce to around 30 core buildings from a current total of 80.
The above is only in relation to the specific police estate. In addition to this, collaborative spaces with other public sector partners will be sought. Negotiations are already underway with ECC, Essex Fire and Rescue as well as local community groups.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex