|New police headquarters officially opened in Wigan
A new police station was officially opened in Wigan today when Lord Peter Smith of Leigh, Leader of Wigan MBC and Chair of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. The station is the thirteenth Greater Manchester Police facility to be built with Private Finance Initiative investment.
The new Wigan Divisional Headquarters (DHQ), which became operational on 28 February 2005, is situated on Robin Park Road. It is part of GMP's Estates Strategy to improve facilities across the Force. The Estates work is being carried out by Equion (a division of John Laing plc) under a £78 million contract placed by the Greater Manchester Police Authority.
The PFI partnership aims to ensure that Greater Manchester Police facilities meet the needs of modern policing to provide members of the public with the most effective and efficient service available.
The new police station is one of 17 new police facilities being built on 16 sites in Greater Manchester. The facilities include a variety of area headquarters, deployment stations and a new traffic headquarters in Eccles.
Wigan's Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Ian Harrison said: "The move to the brand new police station at Robin Park will ensure that our service meets the needs of local communities now and in the future.
"Our commitment to the people of Wigan, Aspull, Standish, Shevington, Orrell and Pemberton is assured by the move to this modern building with state-of-the-art facilities. The move to the new station heralds the delivery of a significant part of the plan, which started with the restructure of the division in September 2003. Together with the restructure, this new facility will help to guarantee stronger bonds between officers based there and the local communities they serve.
"I am confident the new station will only add to the ability of the local Inspectors, Serena Kennedy and Jed Pidd and their teams, to build on the good work carried out since the restructure in further reducing levels of crime, taking the fight against crime to the criminal and making our communities safer.
Chair of the Greater Manchester Police Authority, Derek Osbaldestin, added: "The difficult and often dangerous work that police officers do places a duty on the Authority to provide them with equipment and accommodation of the highest standard.
"The PFI programme under which this divisional headquarters at Wigan has been built, along with the new stations at Bamfurlong and Atherton and refurbishment of Leigh, is a clear demonstration of the Police Authority's commitment to providing high quality facilities both for officers and police staff and for the communities that they serve across the Borough of Wigan."
Richard Weston, managing director of Equion said: "Equion is extremely proud to be working on this ambitious PFI project to transform police facilities throughout Greater Manchester. We have worked closely with our partners at the GMPA and Greater Manchester police to ensure that the Wigan DHQ and all of the new stations are provided with the right facilities and technologies to allow the police to carry out their jobs to the highest standard.
Wigan is the thirteenth station to officially open out of an eventual 17 and we are confident that the quality facilities and excellent location will make a real difference to policing in the local area. We look forward to continuing our involvement in Wigan through providing essential support and maintenance services at the new station, allowing the police to focus on their public service role."
Wigan's Divisional Headquarters has been built to provide an improved policing facility for Wigan, Aspull, Standish, Shevington, Orrell and Pemberton. It includes a modern reception area, a vehicle response centre, a custody area with 29 cells and from the beginning of May, the Crown Prosecution Service will be based at the station to ensure greater efficiency in the criminal justice system.