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025/2013 – Progress Plans for a Northern Base – 20 March 2013

Executive Summary and recommendation:

Approval to progress an analysis of future needs in respect of a re-provision of the Northallerton Police Station and custody suite, together with the Headquarters (HQ) facility located at Newby Wiske, to a proposed new Northern Base facility.

Executive Summary and recommendation:

North Yorkshire Police (NYP) set out its strategy in relation to its Estate in 2007, the Strategy being approved in 2008. It has been refreshed on a regular basis to ensure that the it correctly reflects the current organisational position. The strategy consisted of three 5-year phases. The initial 5-year phase (Phase 1) involved the delivery of a number of Local Police Stations/Offices throughout North Yorkshire, a new police station in Harrogate and commencement of an Estates Capital Rolling Programme based on a full stock condition survey.

Phase 2 included consideration of a Northern Base. The proposal was to look at re-provision of the Northallerton Police Station and the very old and outdated custody suite in that facility. As the Headquarters (HQ) facility is in the same locality (and had been identified in the Estates Strategy as a facility that should be considered for re-provision) it is logical to consider the HQ site alongside the Northallerton Police Station and custody suite re-provision in order to secure the benefits that would arise from having a single facility to accommodate both functions.

A high level review has been undertaken, and this proposal now needs to be subject to a full evaluation that would consider the future needs of the organisation, alongside the commercial, financial and economic implications of the proposed re-provision. This evaluation would consider feasibility and detailed costs. This paper provides the Police & Crime Commissioner with information to allow them to consider the progression of such an evaluation, and:

  • Recommends and seeks approval to progress developing a full needs analysis
    Recommends extending the contract for the specialist ‘in house’ consultancy for a one year period
  • Approval to funding of £150,000 to progress the analysis/evaluation.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision: approved

Signature Date 20 March 2013
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

    1. Introduction and background
      1. North Yorkshire Police set out its strategy in relation to its Estate in 2007, which was approved in 2008. It has been refreshed on a regular basis to ensure that the strategy correctly reflects the current organisational position. The strategy consisted of three 5-year phases. The initial 5-year phase (Phase 1) involved the delivery of a number of Local Police Stations/Offices throughout North Yorkshire, a new police station in Harrogate and commencement of an Estates Capital Rolling Programme based on a full stock condition survey.The aim of the NYP Estates Strategy is to maximise the benefit from Estates assets, improving space utilisation, reducing costs and carbon footprint and improving and supporting organisational sustainability through the Estate. It is suggested that these aims hold true and support the Police and Crime Commissioners plan and objectives.
    2. Phase 2 of the Estates Strategy includes consideration of a Northern Base. The proposal was to look at re-provision of the accommodation for the teams located at the Northallerton Police Station, the Northallerton custody suite and re-provision of accommodation for the teams located at the Newby Wiske HQ . Originally these two locations were included in the strategy as two separate projects. Both of the facilities are old buildings, expensive to maintain/run and the layout of the facilities do not effectively support the needs of a modern police force; they are not ‘fit for purpose’.
    3. The current Northallerton Police Station is not fit for purpose and does not provide the standard and type of facilities that are required to support delivery of modern policing services, particularly the custody suite. The property comprises of a double fronted two storey building, and it is believed that the original building dates back to the 18th Century and was originally built as a private house. Later additions have extended the property and subsequently it was used for local authority offices, with it being converted into a police station in 1987. That the property was originally constructed as a domestic dwelling means that the office accommodation provides a range of mainly cellular office accommodation. These cellular offices do not lend themselves to providing the agile and flexible accommodation required.
    4. The organisation is aware from the work that it undertook in building a new police station in Harrogate that the current Northallerton custody suite falls well short of Home Office standards. Experience and knowledge gained from that project has shown that we can expect the size of the custody suite to treble in order to achieve Home Office standards. The additional space required is in respect of interview facilities and processing rooms that allow officers to more efficiently process detainees, taking advantage of new technologies.
    5. When considering re-provision of the HQ function, it is helpful to understand the concept of HQ. The dictionary definition is that a Headquarters function is ordinarily the centre from which operations are directed. In the case of North Yorkshire police it could be argued that operations are often directed from a number of different locations, due to the nature of policing and the size/geography of the county.
    6. The location of the HQ site at Newby Wiske village is far from ideal. Whilst much has been done to make the site more resilient, it does not make for an ideal location for a police HQ. The connectivity to utilities is poor, there are frequent ‘dips’ in the power provision, this in turn negatively impacts on the provision of IT services and the supporting infrastructure required to protect against these ‘dips and surges’. It is also noted that recently on two separate occasions the Headquarters site has been inaccessible due to flooding.
    7. The security of the site is difficult to manage/maintain due to the size, location and cost of securing the site boundary.
    8. The fact that the ‘Old Hall’ is a Grade II listed building, with the whole site being situated in a Conservation area adds to the costs and associated difficulties of running and maintaining the facility as a Police Headquarters function. Whilst NYP remain in the building it has a duty to ensure that the building is maintained to a standard befitting a Grade II listed building. This in itself significantly increases the costs and liabilities associated with the current HQ location/facilities.
    9. Transport to the HQ site is another consideration; there is no public transport to or near the village. The majority of members of staff and visitors to the site have to have their own transport. The nearest public transport is to catch the train to Northallerton and either take a taxi or secure a ‘lift’ to the site.
    10. It is clear that the current HQ site does not fully meet the needs and support the operational requirements. The constraints of the current site also mean that the site would not effectively facilitate or enable co-location with partner organisations, and thus restricts opportunities in respect of collaboration opportunities. Whilst much has been done to ensure that the fabric of the building is maintained, the fact remains that the building cannot wholly support a flexible and agile working business model, supporting a sustainable NYP in future years.
    11. To this end the analysis will seek to support the following outcomes:
      • Up to date custody facilities
      • An agile working space that requires less floor area and supports people working flexibly across the County and City of York as demands require
      • Reduced running costs
      • An accessible site with a sustainable infrastructure
      • A facility that supports the disposal of the current Northallerton Police Station and the Headquarters site
    12. If NYP continues to deliver services as at present, then a range of back and middle office functions would most likely be located at the proposed new Northern Base. However, it is recognised that many functions may be able to work from a number of locations throughout the county, and requirements and locations may change in future years. As part of the analysis work, we will seek to identify the best location from which services should be delivered.
    13. It is recognised that by adopting a single re-provision approach the organisation will be able to secure additional benefits:
      • Reduce its estate footprint
      • Secure a reduction in its carbon footprint
      • Eliminate waste by ensuring the estate can support operational service delivery; the remote location of the current HQ facility often results in some services being difficult to maintain/deliver
      • Gain economies of scale by re-providing the two facilities in a single facility
    14. When considering the re-provision of accommodation for the teams currently housed in the Newby Wiske HQ facility it is logical to first understand the wider operating arena for NYP. The sheer size/scale of the county is a major and very influential feature that informs and shapes the delivery of services in North Yorkshire. The largest single county in the country, covering 3341 square miles with 45 miles of coastline, a diverse mix of rural and urban communities, two National Parks, and a thriving tourist industry.
    15. It is also appropriate when considering where the Headquarters functions should be located to consider the wider ‘political’ make up the County and communities. These consist of the City of York Council, which is a unitary authority, with the remaining geography of North Yorkshire being served by North Yorkshire Council and one of the seven 7 District Councils (Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmond, Ryedale, Selby and Scarborough).
    16. The next logical matter for consideration when thinking about re-location of the HQ functions is those things in the county on which we are dependant, but cannot easily be changed. In this case it is the road network/infrastructure that is so essential to the functioning of NYP in delivering services to the City of York and the county.
    17. In looking at the influencing factors articulated above (i.e. the size of the county and the road infrastructure), you can then start to focus on where might be the best place to locate a HQ function. The map provided below clearly shows that Thirsk is a key location within the county. It sits at the centre of the county and at a place where there is ready access to all of the major road networks that serve the county. There is quick and easy access to the A1 corridor via the A168 providing quick and easy access to the Harrogate, Richmond and locations in the West of the county. It is located on the A19 for travel North and South of the county and the A170 over to the East Coast. It is also recognised that this location remains within the Hambleton District Council are, therefore negating any adverse economic impact on the area which would occur should it be moved to another locality.
    18. By consolidating the two facilities in this location, it would support the adopted ‘diamond’ operational policing approach, with the police stations located at the Harrogate, Scarborough, Northallerton and York locations being identified as key strategic locations. The police stations that form the ‘diamond’ are the key strategic hubs that support delivery of operational policing services to the whole of the County and City of York.
    19. Whilst recognising that the analysis will look at a range of potential opportunities, if the outcome supported that the new facility should be moved from Northallerton to Thirsk, these two market towns are not so far apart as to make a significant difference to other police stations and facilities that the current Northallerton police station supports. Indeed, if a suitably location could be secured to the south of Thirsk, with ready access to the roads infrastructure, it may be easier to reach for stations such as Richmond and Stokesley by use of the A1, A168 and/or the A19. These main roads ordinarily provide better access routes, are better maintained and serviced; particularly in the Winter months.
    20. It is recognised that if the main police station were to move from Northallerton to Thirsk, there would be a requirement to have a Local Police Station/Office in the Northallerton town centre. However, the costs of this could potentially be offset by the removal of the Local Police Station/Office in Thirsk town centre if the new facility/site was suitably close to the Thirsk town centre.

To support the Police & Crime Commissioners decision making process a comprehensive high level review has been carried out. This review looked at the following:

    • Accommodation requirements for the Northallerton police station teams
    • Custody requirements
    • Accommodation required for the HQ functions
    • Other available space within the NYP Estate
    • Costs associated with running of current facilities
    • Potential to occupy or purchase existing facilities
    • Potential to build a new facility
    • Impact on the local economy of both the HQ functions and the Northallerton police station
    • High level estimated costs
    • High level project plan/timeline
  1. The conclusions of this high level review was that re-provision of a single facility to accommodate both the Northallerton police station function, custody and the functions currently located at the Newby Wiske Headquarters site would provide the Best Value solution. Additionally, the Thirsk location was an ideal area to consider a re-provision due to the access to the major roads network/infrastructure and may potentially better support operational service delivery.
  2. Turning our attention to the disposal of property assets should the Commissioner wish to re-locate. It is recognised that there would be a requirement for careful and thorough consideration in respect of both the current Northallerton Police Station and the HQ site. Previously work has been undertaken to understand what could be achieved. In particular the work focused on the HQ site, recognising the sensitivities of the Grade II listed building located in a conservation area and the unique location of the beautiful rural village of Newby Wiske. In the context of the above, the review looked at:
    • What a level of income could be generated from disposal
    • What other uses the site may offer, including NYP use
    • The impact on the local communities should the HQ be re-located
    • Current facilities available within the locality

    The piece of work undertaken clearly identified that there was little opportunity to improve the inefficient internal environment compared to other buildings, or further reduce the running costs of the current site, over and above the work already undertaken/commissioned. It was also clear that the current site lacked the ability to support future requirements, particularly in relation to technology and infrastructure. In summary, whilst the value that could be achieved from disposal of the site would support the development of new accommodation, there were much greater gains to be achieved though having a modern and sustainable facility in an appropriate location.

    To date there has been no engagement with local planners, however, it is the intention that the proposed analysis would look further at the potential future uses for the sites, in consultation with local planners. In doing so we would also seek to take account of issues that have previously caused concern to the local community (e.g. parking in the Newby Wiske village) and new issues that are identified as part of the consultation process for both of the existing facilities.

  3. The analysis work would also consider options around programme and sequencing of disposal options, in addition to the disposal route that would offer Best Value for the Commissioner.

Matters for consideration

There are a number of other factors that will influence any decision to re-provide the current Northallerton police station, custody suite and HQ facility. These include the changing demographics of the workforce, with a new generation of technically advanced employees with expectations around how they will work and the tools they will need to undertake their roles.

It is envisaged with the increased retirement age, these new employees will be looking to achieve a work life balance, and will work differently. They will expect to take advantage of new technologies as they emerge.

Given the future financial assessment it is recognised that there will be a need to drive out further efficiencies in future years. These will be achieved through a strategic assessment of how services are delivered. The output of this work will help inform the future estates requirement.

In order for NYP to continue to be an ’employer of choice’ and to provide modern and sustainable policing services into the future it will be required to position itself to ensure it is best placed to use the most up to date technologies and attract the best possible people to work for NYP.

The following are key enablers that will be required to support the delivery of a new Northern Base:

  • Technology
  • Design Partner contract
  • Specialist in house consultancy


Provision of new and modern facilities that support agile ways of working, will be dependant on NYP having a robust Technology Strategy and delivery of that strategy. In order for the organisation to be able to take advantage of emerging technologies it will need to consider having Strategic Partnering arrangements. It will also need to ensure that its ‘in house’ workforce are trained and developed as new technologies present themselves and are adopted.

It is essential that the IT Strategy and costed business case for achieving that strategy is aligned to the aims of the organisation, with its delivery timeline harmonising and supporting the delivery of the new Northern Base as well as other key organisational objectives and goals articulated in the Police and Crime Plan.

Design Partner Contract:

The current Design Partner contract with E.C. Harris expires in March 2013. Work has been ongoing to procure a new Design Partner. This contract is being progressed on the basis that NYP does not have to give work to the contractor, thus protecting the Police and Crime Commissioners position should they decide they do not wish to progress a new Northern Base. As the procurement for a new Design Partner has been delayed, there is an option for the current Design Partner to commence work on the evaluation and complete the evaluation as a piece of work under their current contract with NYP. Current estimates are that the new Design Partner contract will be in place circa May/June 2013.

Specialist in house consultancy:

A procurement exercise was undertaken in 2011 to secure professional services to support the Estates Transformation work (including Acquisitions, Disposal and the Harrogate new build). The contract was for the period 01/04/11 to 31/03/13 with an option to extend for up to one year.

The successful supplier was P.B & B Consulting and they have been effectively supporting the Estates Transformation activity.

This service is key to supporting the organisation in moving forward with the provision of a proposed new Northern Base and the other estates activity scheduled for Phase 2.

The current service provider has provided exemplary service to NYP and professional support that has allowed NYP to actively and robustly manage its contractors in delivery of a new police station in Harrogate, supporting a robustly managed approach to cost, quality and timescales. Given the level of work that is currently being progressed, and the potential negative impact that may arise from a change in supplier at the present time, it is recommended that the current providers contract be extended for a further year.


It is recognised that the Police and Crime Commissioner and North Yorkshire Police wish to consult with the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York and receive feedback. However, when considering a project of this nature there will be times when information will be of a confidential nature and cannot be shared.

To this end, as part of the consultation process information will be shared where appropriate and where commercial and other sensitivities allow, to support meaningful consultation with the workforce, and with the wider community.

To that end a high level communications plan is attached at Appendix A, which sets out the key messages for Internal Stakeholders and External Stakeholders.


As part of the high level review, consideration was given to the continued occupation of current facilities. The costs of running the facilities are high due to the age of the buildings, they do not support the open plan flexible type working that NYP aspires to achieve, nor do the two sites under consideration provide Value for Money facilities. The custody facility at Northallerton falls significantly short of what would be required of a modern custody suite.

The proposal to progress to full analysis will enable the organisation to understand if the proposal would result in increased sustainability by providing modern, fit for purpose facilities that support delivery of policing services and effective management of assets and resources. If so, this would support the overall objectives of the Police and Crime Plan, in particular Goal 4: Fit for the Future.

Financial Implications/Value for money

The estimated cost of progressing the full analysis is £150,000, and financial provision has been made in the financial plan. It is estimated that it will take 3-4 months to complete the work. The funding has been accounted for in the 2013/14 financial year.

The estimates have been provided by our current Design Partner, and cover the costs of activities involved in progressing a full evaluation. Our Design Partner services are secured through a competitive process. The Design Partner supports the organisation with a range of specialist services, and also enables us to access a wide range of very specialist services that will be required to progress a project of this size and nature.

An example of the type of services that will be required, and can be accessed via the Design Partner contract include, Planning advice and services, Architectural design and space planning services. These are specialist services that the organisation would not ordinarily need when carrying out normal day to day business.

To carry out the evaluation we will need specialist advice and services in respect of the following activities:

  • Identification of sites/premises that meet our requirements. Assess the individual sites against the specified organisational requirements, and ensure that planning constraints, hazards, risks and physical constraints are identified
  • Prepare Accommodation schedules, functional spatial and performance standards for the new facility
  • Design the new facility. There will be a need for a purpose built custody facility which will have to meet Home Office standards. There will also be a requirement to either design a new building or design the lay-out of an existing facility if this is the recommended solution
  • Building requirements – based on the provided organisational requirements for the new facility there will be work required to identify infrastructure requirements, security requirements and general building design
  • Programming and Procurement for a major construction project (custody will have to be a ‘new build’ in order for us to meet Home Office standards)
  • Specialist support in respect of acquisition and disposal activity, as required.

In order that this work can be carried out under the current Design Partner and Estates Transformation Consultancy Services contracts there would be a requirement to extend their current contracts. Should the Commissioner not wish to extend the current contracts, then there would be a requirement to ‘pause’ the work until new contracts are in place.

Legal Implications

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Director of Legal & Compliance Services is satisfied that this report does not ask the Commissioner to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law. DoLCS has not had sight of the contract extension clause in respect of PB&B Consulting and relies upon the content of Section 2 above in that regard.

Equality Implications

There are no equality or diversity implications in respect of the request to progress this work. A full community impact assessment and equalities impact assessment will form part of the analysis.

Tick to confirm statement
Director/Chief Officer COR Carter has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities.
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge.
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice.
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision Julie McMurray Date 20 March 2013
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