Frequently Asked Questions
1. What did you consult on?
We consulted on proposals to enhance our service for the south of Cambridgeshire. This includes replacing the outdated facilities at Parkside Police Station with both a new city centre police station and a police hub on the outskirts of Cambridge.
The proposals respond to the changing nature of crime and policing in Cambridgeshire alongside local population growth. Our current operation doesn’t allow us to fully respond to today’s needs. New facilities are needed to improve our response and service to you, without them tackling crime will become more difficult.
2. Why do you need to change the service?
Our current facilities at Parkside do not allow us to fully respond to today’s needs.
- No room to expand the station – The building does not have enough cells and offers no option to expand.
- Too few cells affect our frontline service – Currently, when the cells are full at Parkside, police officers must transport the people they arrest 40 miles to Peterborough or Kings Lynn. This takes officers away from responding to other incidents in Cambridge and the surrounding area.
- Location is subject to traffic – The location for the transfer of detainees into and out of the city for custody is delayed by traffic, and takes time away from officers attending other calls for service in Cambridge and the surrounding area.
3. What are your proposals to improve the service?
To meet population growth in the south of Cambridgeshire, the changing nature of crime and policing, and to replace the outdated facilities at Parkside, we are proposing to build a new police hub. Although the new location is to be decided, the options will provide a number of benefits:
- The hub will help us investigate complex crime more easily: Enhanced facilities will enable us to respond to, and investigate, complex crimes such as fraud and online investigations more effectively.
- The hub will help the speed of the court appearance process: Enhanced facilities will allow for the increased use of virtual courts. This means there will be less of a need to travel to court for sentencing, improving the average time from charge to first hearing.
- The hub will maximise time for police on patrol: Increased cell provision from 12-24 will help meet current and future demand, allowing officers to return to frontline duty sooner rather than transporting or waiting for an available cell for detainees. The location of the final site will have better road access than the city centre, be subject to less traffic, and will enable officers to respond to calls for service more efficiently. The hub will deliver neighbourhood policing for the south to meet the increase in population and housing.
4. What do you mean by a ‘police presence’ staying in the centre of Cambridge? Will it be a new police station – or just a desk?
We know that maintaining a station and presence in the city centre is important, and we are therefore proposing to provide a site in the city centre to focus on the priorities received in feedback from last year’s public survey:
- Helping to deliver city centre policing through our community policing team, who will be based at this station
- Maintaining a public facing enquiry office for you to access information, speak to officers, and report crime
- Delivering an overseas registration function on site
5. Would it not be more expensive to run two police stations?
There are cost implications of any upgrade to Parkside, which would require ongoing maintenance and refurbishments over a number of years and would not meet our needs for modern-day policing. While the creation of a new police hub and presence in the city centre will require capital expenditure, there are efficiencies that will be made through good design and better working practices.
Any revenue earned due to the reconfigured services at Parkside, and increased efficiencies through the new facilities, will be available to reinvest in the Cambridgeshire police service, again improving our provision.
6. Cambridgeshire has a growing population, will that mean an increased need for police services?
We anticipate that an increased demand for policing will follow due to projected growth of the population and housing. This will include a demand on facilities we have, such as the number of cells available to deal with detainees in custody. We need to enhance our service and facilities to respond to this need.
7. What are you doing to ensure the service is green and sustainable?
The positive environmental performance of the project is demonstrated by meeting the specific planning policy requirements.
Specific areas of focus are:
- Energy use:
- use less energy through the high performance of the building fabric and HVAC systems efficient energy supply
- use of a Building Management System to monitor and control building operating systems
- renewable energy use, including solar PV and solar thermal
- Carbon emissions – reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through the use of low carbon technologies, including heating and lighting systems
- Water use and conservation
- Sustainable site drainage
8. What is the precept consultation underway at the moment?
The Acting Police and Crime Commissioner is currently running a survey asking for your views on funding the police service in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The survey runs until Monday 27th January and is available on the Commissioner’s website. Your responses will help the Commissioner decide on setting the level for the policing part of council tax for 2020/21.
9, How is this consultation different to the 2019 survey on the site in Milton?
In June 2019, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner sought the views of the public through a survey about a potential site at Milton for a new police station to replace the outdated Parkside facilities, whilst maintaining a Police Information Point in Cambridge city centre.
Having listened to the feedback received, we are now undertaking a formal consultation on the principle of proposals for both a new city centre police station and a police hub on the outskirts of Cambridge to meet the area’s growth and to respond to the challenges of modern-day policing.
This reflects the operational need of the service and feedback received from the public on the need for access to the police in the city centre.
While the option of the Milton site is one that we are considering, details of a final site for both the city centre police station and the hub will be subject to the outcome of this consultation on the principle of the service change proposals.
10. Haven’t you already decided to do this, and where the new station will be?
We haven’t decided yet where the new police station will be. There are a number of options for sites which we will consider fully when this consultation closes at the end of February 2020.
Details of a final site for both the city centre police station and the hub will be subject to the outcome of this consultation on the principle of the service change proposals.
11. Where will the new city centre location be, and will it be open as often as Parkside?
Details of a final site for the city centre police station will be subject to the outcome of this consultation on the principle of the service change proposals. We do not currently envisage there being a change to the opening hours.
12. Will this mean a reduction in the number of police officers in Cambridge city centre?
No, there will be no reduction in police officers as a result of these proposals. In fact, the enhanced facilities, including more cells should enable us to have officers return to patrol more quickly, rather than spending time transporting detainees 40 miles to Peterborough or Kings Lynn.
13. Why will this make us safer in Cambridge city centre?
Your safety is our top priority. Our proposals respond to the changing nature of crime and policing in Cambridgeshire alongside local population growth. Our current operation doesn’t allow us to fully respond to today’s needs. New facilities are needed to help improve our response and service to you, without them tackling crime will become more difficult.
14. Will other police stations in the south of Cambridgeshire also close and be relocated to the new hub?
We do not currently envisage there being any changes to other police stations in Cambridgeshire other than Parkside as a result of this service change consultation.
15. Why can you not improve the Parkside station?
Parkside was constructed in the 1960s and is beyond its functional age as a police facility. It requires significant investment to keep the building operational in the mid- to long-term and cannot provide the additional cells required.
Essential maintenance was completed at Parkside in 2014, but this was only intended to extend the useable lifespan of the buildings for up to five years. Further maintenance would provide a short-term benefit only due to the necessity to relocate and provide sufficient custody facilities.
About the consultation
16. How can I get involved in the consultation process?
There were a number of ways through which you could participate in the consultation. These are listed on the About the Consultation page of this website.
17. How long did the consultation run for?
The consultation ran from 9.00am on Saturday 1st February 2020 until 5.00pm on Saturday 29th February 2020.
18. Why is this public consultation necessary? Can my previous comments not be applied to this consultation?
It is important that we understood your views on the principle of service change first before making any decision on whether to replace our outdated facilities at Parkside Police Station and build a new police hub on the outskirts of Cambridge whilst maintaining a presence in the city centre. We therefore encouraged as many people as possible to get involved, even if they had previously made comments.
19. Can you still accept my response?
Representations (responses) needed to have been made within the consultation period to be considered.
20. How do I keep up-to-date with the project?
You can register your interest in being updated on the consultation via the Contact page of this website.
Next steps and further information
21. When and how will I see the results of this consultation?
Once the consultation has concluded, we will email everyone who wishes to be kept up to date on the proposals with a summary of the feedback once it has been fully analysed.