Police station relocation plans
Police chiefs in Nottinghamshire have backed ambitious plans which could revitalise Newark town centre as part of Newark Towns Fund Board application for the Towns Fund, a Government pledge to invest up to £25m into the town’s regeneration, planning and land use.
In a bid to help reduce crime and increase police presence, Nottinghamshire Police has been working alongside the Board on proposals to relocate the current police station at Queen’s Road to Newark and Sherwood District Council’s headquarters at Castle House, Great North Road. This would allow the current police station site to be transformed into residential living and business units, while fundamentally addressing community safety concerns of residents.
Police reports show some increases in anti-social behaviour and other crimes. In Newark and Sherwood District Council’s 2018 residents’ survey, the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour was identified as a top priority for residents. Within Newark’s Devon Ward, only 65 per cent of residents felt safe or very safe when outside in the local area during the day, compared to a national average of 93 per cent. After dark, this figure fell to 16 per cent, 60 per cent below the national average.
The move would give the police the opportunity to relocate next to other public services, enhancing work between the police, community protection, adult social care, licensing and youth work, enabling better intelligence and joint task force working.
This move will allow Newark to reach its full potential as a visitor destination offering a vibrant night time economy for young people and a place for families to be proud of living in. The project would also release assets for improving community safety such as CCTV in the town centre. Equally the relocation means that all new officers being posted to Newark as part of Operation Reacher can be based together. Operation Reacher tackles drugs, violent crimes and organised crime gangs and has already had significant successes in areas of Nottinghamshire where it is currently set up. Reacher teams are now set to be deployed right across the city and county, working in partnership with neighbourhood teams.
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “The police station is on prime land and releasing this is key to allowing the Newark Towns Fund Board to be able to realise its ambitions for this area.
“The area within which the current police station is based has high levels of deprivation and our departure would enable a significant new development to be assembled. In addition, co-locating with a range of partners at Castle House would facilitate even stronger partnership working and assist with continuing to jointly drive down levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“To me this is a no brainer – we need to design out crime and we need to work in a more agile way with our partners to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Newark going forward, which relocating together gives us the opportunity and ambition to do. Our strategic drivers are to remain local, to increase the amount of time spent by police officers on the street and to drive efficiencies.
“That is why I am fully supportive of these plans and have been working with the Board as part of its plans to make Newark a safe and vibrant place to live and work once again. Newark has all the ingredients to make it one of the country’s most attractive places to live, work and visit. It is acknowledged, however, that is has yet to fulfil its potential and we are grateful for the opportunity afforded to Nottinghamshire Police to contribute to the Town Investment Plan and to the transformation of Newark.”
The project is one of nine priority projects submitted as part of the Board’s Town Investment Plan, which was submitted to government last month. The plan sets out aspirational and innovative proposals for regenerating the town centre, boosting business and infrastructure, with Newark being one of the first places to bid for up to £25m funding. If successful, it is hoped the plan would enable the town to build on its significant past, creating a place that is rooted in history yet embraces opportunity, potential and ambition.
Councillor David Lloyd, Co-chair of the Newark Towns Fund Board and Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour restricts Newark’s ability to fulfil its potential as a visitor destination, with a vibrant night time economy. The move will directly address the community safety concerns of our residents, by reinvesting funds and resources into frontline policing in Newark.
“It would bring about a welcome opportunity to increase collaboration and intelligence sharing with other public services, including the Council’s public protection team and adult social care.”
Nottinghamshire’s Deputy PCC Emma Foody added: “There is no doubt this move will have a positive psychological and practical impact on the community and with residents.
“We expect crimes traditionally more associated with town centres such as shop theft, robbery and assaults to reduce as well as there to be a reduction in anti-social behaviour as the greater footfall from residential living will provide both a deterrent and early warning for police.
“I can reassure residents this move will enhance policing in Newark, not detract from it. Despite the challenges of austerity, we have increased the number of officers at Newark in recent years and this October we will be launching Operation Reacher in Newark, which will see a further increase in resources.”
If given the green-light it is hoped the plans to relocate the police station and build new residential and business premises on the current police station site could be realised in less than two years’ time.
Further information is available at https://www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/business/newarktownsfund/.