Plans unveiled for a new joint enforcement hub in Derby City
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Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has provided funding to the tune of £25,000 to ensure the sustainability of the project over the next three years. It will see Derbyshire Constabulary working with Derby City Council and the University of Derby to provide a joint base at Riverside Chambers, the former magistrates' court building on Full Street, which is now part of the Connect Derby managed workspace scheme.
The final touches are underway on the building and it is hoped police teams will be ready to move in early this summer.
The Multi-Agency City Centre Hub will accommodate 25 officers including the City Safer Neighbourhood Team, Special Constables and Police Cadets as well as officers from Derby City Council.
It will also provide a base for those embarking on Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships (PCDA), as well as Policing and Criminology students from the University, to encourage collaborative work across the City.
Alongside an open plan working space, the new hub will provide a dedicated briefing facility enabling the blue light organisations to share intelligence more effectively and host joint night-time economy briefings involving police, taxi marshals, street pastors and licencing staff.
The new project has been developed as a result of proposals made by academics from the University of Derby's College of Business, Law and Social Sciences, and discussions at the PCC's City Centre Summit, first held in 2017, which brought together a host of agencies and local businesses to discuss problems of street begging, homelessness and drug use on the streets of Derby.
Since then, partners have been working hard to proactively manage the problems, delivering specialist engagement and support to help individuals recover and secure permanent accommodation and delivering robust enforcement against those who resist help or continue to impact on public safety.
Mr Dhindsa said: "This is a really exciting milestone for all of us and another significant outcome from my Summit. I am proud that we have reached an advanced stage of discussions.
"We have a duty to protect those who live, work and visit the city and we believe by co-locating some of our resources, we will deliver better outcomes for the communities we all serve.
"We have achieved so much in a short time but we can go much further and we will. The new hub will enable us to respond to challenges in a coordinated way and maximise the expertise, skills and experience of our collective personnel.
"There is a need now to step-up our approach to enforcement and tackle the city's problems head-on as one team, in the way local people and businesses want. The need for this type of base is clear and now it is happening."
The new base will offer on-site parking, interview rooms, a secure evidence room, Taser room, storage facilities and Body Worn Video download capability as well as a refreshment area and locker room/showers.
Chief Superintendent Dave Cox, who leads policing in the city, said: "The new hub is a fantastic asset to help keep the residents and visitors safe in Derby.
"This couldn't have happened without the partnership work of the Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Derby University, we already work very closely but to have a single base to operate from will foster ever closer ties between the staff from agencies.
"The opening of the hub also ties in to the COVID-19 roadmap which will see the night-time economy opening back up and the hub will provide a great base from which to welcome people back into the city."
It will also deliver an opportunity for degree students to test their skills in a real police and partnership environment, with access to criminal justice processes, case studies, problem-solving and briefing experience.
Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby said: "This initiative has the potential to transform the way crime and its associated social issues are addressed in future, not just in Derby, but in many other cities and communities.
"The University's role will be to apply academic research methods to the way in which issues and problems caused by crime in our communities are resolved, working in close co-operation with Derbyshire Police to take new approaches which can help to make a real impact in the city.
"It will also provide a superb opportunity for our students to obtain unrivalled work experience opportunities supporting policing and community safety professionals, which will not only complement their education but will enable them to make a difference which improves the quality of life for local people."
Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, added: "We're delighted to welcome the Multi-Agency City Centre Hub to Riverside Chambers. The Grade II listed building, which was the subject of a £4m refurbishment in 2016, is home to a diverse range of businesses, including Derby's Sales & Information Centre, the combined frontline service for Visit Derby, Derby LIVE and Derby Active, and Marketing Derby.
"Riverside Chambers will be the perfect base for this exciting initiative, and I would like to wish Derbyshire Constabulary, Derby City Council and the University of Derby every success."