- Ministry of Justice and PCC finally reach agreement
- Commissioner delivers on pledge for Forest police hub
- Coleford to be re-named Royal Forest of Dean Police Station
- More savings on the police estate
The long term plan to make Coleford a hub for police and criminal justice services in the Forest of Dean moved a step closer when Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl clinched the purchase of the town’s magistrates court.
It brings to an end protracted negotiations which began soon after Mr. Surl was elected PCC in November 2012.
“It’s taken much longer than I had hoped, and there were many times when I thought it would never happen, but I am delighted we have managed to secure the site at last.
“It’s important for law enforcement in the Forest that the area retains its own identity and I believe that developing Coleford as a hub for the Police and other criminal justice services is crucial to that”.
The courthouse adjoins the town’s police station, which Mr. Surl also saved from closure, and means he can now deliver on his promise to make the site the main base or ‘hub’ for policing in the area.
“Had we moved in with the Forest of Dean District Council, which was the plan before I was elected, we would have lost the security of a freehold site with the likelihood we would have never found a suitable place again.
“This is a really good location we can develop, which will be reflected in its new name – the Royal Forest of Dean Police Station”.
It is the latest property ‘coup’ for the Commissioner which has saved the Constabulary around £10 million on plans previously drawn-up by the old Police Authority.
Gloucestershire’s new custody facility, Compass House, was built for around £1.5 million less than an earlier estimate; Prism House, which houses the constabulary’s investigative teams, saved around £2.4 million on previous plans to build a new building while it’s estimated scrapping the plan to build a new police station on the old Gloucester Fire Station site could save the police as much as £5 million.