Plan revealed for £34m new shared fire and police training facility in Hertfordshire

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Councillors heard how the current site is reaching the end of its working life

Plans have been revealed for a new £34million shared training facility for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the county’s police force.

Councillors sitting on the county’s Community Safety and Waste Management Cabinet Panel meeting on Tuesday, February 9, heard how the Longfield Joint Emergency Services Academy site at Stevenage is reaching the end of its working life.

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It is the primary training and development centre for the HFRS and also houses its fire control facility which handles 999 calls.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue (C) Hertfordshire County CouncilHertfordshire Fire and Rescue (C) Hertfordshire County Council
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue (C) Hertfordshire County Council

A report to councillors by deputy chief fire officer, Chris Bigland, revealed how the site now has a significant backlog of repairs and maintenance required and no longer complies with environmental and equalities legislative requirements.

DCFO Bigland told the meeting a strategic outline case had been prepared for the redevelopment of the site.

“The site at Longfield is end of life. We do need to replace the operational and the administrative buildings on the site and so colleagues have been through a series of investigations to understand what is required.

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“We have been working alongside colleagues within the constabulary under our MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for collaboration and we are seeking to develop a solution that solves the training requirements for both organisations.

PolicePolice
Police

“With the ability to support both HCC learning and development as well as other organisations such as ambulance should the opportunities arise in the future.”

The report states the preferred option is to deliver the construction project at a target cost of £34.4m including 15 per cent contingency. It states there is an expected funding contribution of around £5m from Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The report goes on to state that developing the site will require major capital investment and that £600,000 would be sought to support the next stage of the programme, a full business case.

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The business case could be ready by August/September according to DCFO Bigland. The panel agreed to recommend to the county’s Cabinet that it approves the strategic outline case and also recommended to Cabinet that it approves the expenditure of £600,000 to develop the full business case.

DCFO Bigland said: “We have tried to take a 60 year plus approach to this. The outline planning permission covers a number of other building opportunities on the site, not just an operational station but other elements that we may or may not choose to think about in the future.

"So we are taking a long term approach to the strategy. The site is flexible enough and the outline plans are to allow us to put other buildings in should we need them or other training functions and technical pieces of equipment.”

DCFO Bigland explained that the police have been involved in the process from the start. He added: “All student officer training will be done from JESA. We are looking to take efficiencies and benefits from merging certain elements of our training.

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"So for instance, the Police And Criminal Evidence Act, obviously police officers need to have that training but actually so do our enforcement and protection officers.

"So we can combine both blue team and red team training programmes, so actually we can bring together the efficiencies of delivering those programmes while also improving that officer relationship to improve our service delivery out on the ground.

"So student officer training absolutely, all other areas of police training are being assessed to workout where the similarities are and whether we can train colleagues together which creates greater efficiency.”