The search for a new Force headquarters site in Surrey is underway as part of a long-term estates programme announced today by the Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro and Surrey Police.
Work has begun to identify a new location in a more central area of Surrey, likely to be in the Leatherhead/Dorking area, to replace the current HQ at Mount Browne in Guildford.
The plans are designed to deliver long-term savings by moving out and disposing of some of the current outdated and costly buildings and creating a modern and cost-effective estate that will allow the Force to meet the challenges of modern policing.
The project is expected to take at least four to five years to complete and the planning team, which is led by the Chief Officer Group and the PCC, have instructed agents to start the search.
If a suitable building can be found, it will replace the current sites at Woking and Mount Browne and also Reigate police station as the main eastern divisional base.
Depending on the final location, the site may also provide a central Surrey hub for Roads Policing and Armed Response teams. Area Policing Teams and Safer Neighbourhood Teams will continue to operate from their boroughs.
Guildford and Staines police stations will remain as they are, predominantly accommodating Western and Northern divisional teams.
A number of factors were considered in deciding the narrowed search location such as ensuring specialist teams are able to respond effectively to county-wide demand and that Surrey Police are well placed to build ever-stronger links with partner forces in the South East.
PCC David Munro said: “This has been a big decision to make but the most important factor in planning the future of our estate in Surrey is that we provide value for money for the public.
“It is no secret that some of our current buildings, including the Mount Browne HQ site, are outdated, poor quality and expensive to manage and maintain. At a time when we are asking the public to pay for more through their council tax precept, we must ensure this isn’t committed in the long term to run a costly, restrictive estate.
“Mount Browne has been at the centre of policing in this county for almost 70 years and has played a key part in the proud history of Surrey Police. Equally, I am well aware that the two other sites in Woking and Reigate have been important locations for local residents and our plans must ensure our local neighbourhood presence for those communities is unaffected.
“But we must look to the future and designing a new HQ gives us a unique opportunity to really think about what we could do differently to deliver an even better service to the public. We have looked carefully at the potential budget for the project and whilst there will be inevitable relocation costs involved, I am satisfied that this investment will provide savings in the long-term.
“Whilst this decision marks an important milestone, we are still at an early stage in our plans and there is much work to do in identifying and securing the right location. However I feel it is important to be transparent about our proposals and share our thinking with our staff and the wider public at this juncture.
“This is an exciting opportunity to shape the look and feel of the Force for future generations. We know that to thrive in the years ahead the ability to adapt to ongoing changes in policing will be important, and this will be at the forefront of our thinking as we look at modernising our working environments and practices”.
Deputy Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “Surrey Police is a modern, vibrant organisation with a very proud heritage. To meet future policing challenges we need a modern estate, supported by effective technology and new ways of working. Our teams, and the communities we serve deserve nothing less.
“These plans reflect our ambition to be an outstanding force, an attractive employer able to provide high quality policing in the heart of our communities.”