Northamptonshire Police HQ – A Solution
I am currently writing a series of blogs on what I think is wrong with the prison system and why I believe all of the political parties need to rethink the strategies that have patently failed to address re-offending and in doing so have failed to ‘Prevent people from becoming the next Victim’
I have based my observations and drawn on my experience of having worked in HMP Wellingborough for almost 10 years as a member of the Senior Management Team when the following thought came to mind.
and no it isn’t April the first,
this is a serious suggestion so please read on.
If Northamptonshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner is really serious about moving from Wotton Hall and relocating to a ‘new’ Headquarters I believe I have the solution.
Why don’t they move lock stock and barrel twelve miles up the road to Wellingborough and more specifically relocate to HMP Wellingborough?
Let’s look at what they would have and its advantages,
Over 70% of the prison is either brand new having been constructed in the past five years and/or has been refurbished.
There is ample office space for the Commissioner, (he would naturally have to have the number Governor’s office) and offices for his highly paid assistants as well as offices for senior police officers/managers and their support staff.
With over two hundred parking spaces there will be ample parking for staff and visitors.
There is also ample secure parking for police vehicles inside of the 35 acre site.
There are very large workshops which would allow for vehicle maintenance to be carried out on site in a secure environment.
There is sufficient workshop space to house all lost or recovered property in a very secure environment.
There are purpose built cell facilities to house those sentenced by the courts with the added bonus that rather than take police off of the front line to look after them there is a ready-made fully trained and experienced staff living in the houses next to the prison in Millers Park.
This would help in two ways, firstly when prison overcrowding demands that the police keep convicted people in cells and secondly would negate the need to build another Holding Centre such as the one built at Brackmills.
The location is easily accessible and has excellent road links to the rest of Northamptonshire.
There is good access to Wellingborough Rail Station.
There is an excellent catering facility on site.
There are excellent opportunities for the ‘Community Pay Back’ teams to carry out their community sentences in maintaining the grounds both internal and external and if the weather is really bad to carry out meaningful work in refurbishing the prison buildings. This would provide significant savings in the police maintenance budget that could be reassigned to front line policing.
There are excellent conference facilities.
It would provide facilities for other organisations connected to the Criminal Justice system.
It would provide a facility and opportunity to run awareness courses for those who are engaged in crime but have not yet been sentenced to their first custodial sentence.
and what better place is there to house a police and prison museum than in a prison itself which could include both static and live displays.
This is of course not of course an exhaustive list of the advantages of the police relocating their Headquarters to HMP Wellingborough.
It will be interesting to see what the reaction to my suggestion will be from the Police Commissioner but I guess it’ll be around the cost and lack of funding which when you consider the value the Wotton Hall for development it would be an unsustainable argument.
It will also be interesting to see after all of the rhetoric about the closure of the establishment whether the Wellingborough Council and Peter Bone MP would support the reopening of HMP Wellingborough for a new role with all of the economic advantages it would bring to their town.
Let the debate commence.