A major £11 million state-of-the-art investment in a new police station in Downpatrick has been officially opened by PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and Anne Connolly, Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.
The station first opened its doors to the public on Monday, 30 November 2015, following a 26 month build programme. The new facility provides a base for Local Policing Teams who respond to calls for assistance 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
It also encompasses an Enquiry Office, which allows people to report crime, sign bail or arrange to speak to police. From an investigative point-of-view, the building is also a hub of activity, with detectives from the Reactive Organised Crime Unit and officers from Reducing Offending Unit located at the site.
Newry Mourne and Down District Commander, Superintendent Paul Reid said: “In a time of budget cuts and austerity this is a welcome facility for the community of Down and also the PSNI officers that help keep them safe. The previous station at Irish Street served the PSNI and the RUCGC admirably for many years through some troubled times.
“Due to its age and design it required continual expensive maintenance work so it could remain as an operational base for officers. However, the cramped facilities there fell short of what is needed for policing in the 21st century.
“The new station is a vital addition to policing in Newry Mourne and Down Policing District. It has modern facilities and offices and provides excellent access for members of the public.”
Commenting on the new station, Chief Constable George Hamilton QPM said: “Our purpose is to keep people safe and we do that by policing with the community… this is a long term commitment. To deliver on it, we need to put in place an infrastructure that is fit for purpose, not only for today, but for the future.
“This new station in Downpatrick, is an integral part in our overall Estates Strategy for the Service. It has been designed to be eco-friendly, efficient and sustainable and is a solid foundation for policing in the Newry, Mourne and Down District. It’s not just an investment in policing but an investment in the community we serve.
“Downpatrick police station has also been located in close proximity to our partners; Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Newry, Mourne and Down Council and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. This will assist us in developing further collaborative working practices to support a safer, more confident and peaceful society.”
Before conducting the opening ceremony, Anne Connolly, Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, said: “The Policing Board is committed to ensuring that good policing is delivered across all parts of our community. It is the Policing Board’s role to monitor how PSNI use their resources so that the best policing service possible is delivered; and it is vital that we make sure the police estate is in good shape so they can do that.
“I am delighted that the people of Downpatrick and surrounding area will benefit from these new modern premises. It is important to remember, however, that policing is less about the physical presence of a police station, but the effective day to day delivery of policing on our streets.
“The £11 million investment made is not just an investment in property so that police and support staff can do their work effectively; it is an investment in the future services for the people of this area. It is important for people in this community to know that their policing needs are being met. And I am sure that the people of Newry, Mourne and Down will welcome the commitment to policing they have been given by investing in this new building.”
The new Downpatrick PSNI Station is situated on the northwest corner of the old Downshire Hospital site on the Ardglass Road.
Superintendent Reid concluded: “Policing in the modern era with financial pressures requires a new collaborative approach between police, the community and statutory bodies. I am delighted that we have these new facilities for the people of Newry Mourne and Down District and I am confident it will help officers keep people safe while policing with the community.”
Downpatrick Police Station – some facts
* New build on a green/brown field site within the boundaries of the old Downshire Hospital
* Area: 6.5 acres
* Total Floor Area over 3 buildings (Main Station, Energy Centre and Gate House): 3,500m2 approx.
* Car parking for staff and fleet vehicles: 157 spaces
* Parking for the Public: 10 spaces
* Contract Duration: 26 months
* Cost : £11m approx.
* Contemporary building utilizing innovative and traditional building materials and techniques
* Building designed to reduce energy consumption, carbon footprint and C02 emissions
* Enhanced thermal insulation and air tightness
* Building is one of the most energy efficient within the PSNI’s Estate
* Building obtained an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A21
* Rain Water Recovery System – rain water harvested to supply sanitary appliances (toilets and urinals) and the car wash bay
Biomass boiler installed – wood pellets, carbon neutral and renewable fuel source
* LED lighting and control technology installed
* Sustainable Drainage (SUDS) installed to car parking areas to reduce storm water run off.