Today (Thursday 30 July) Royal Wootton Bassett Station has officially been re-opened by the Town Mayor and Mayoress, Nic and Sue Hughes. The station has been closed since October last year, whilst it underwent extensive refurbishment. The anticipated date for re-opening was initially in the spring, but due to complications during the covid-19 outbreak, unavoidable delays were incurred.
This is part of the Police and Crime Commissioner's on-going Estates Strategy 2017-21, Angus Macpherson said "My strategy is designed to help focus our efforts in transforming our sites in order to continue to be fit for the demands of modern day policing. The out of date Royal Wootton Bassett Station was identified as a Community Policing Team hub, and as such required significant refurbishment to ensure it was fit for purpose, involving a substantial investment of over £600k."
During the extensive program of work, the building has been transformed into an open plan office space with a dedicated refreshment and locker area, new windows have been installed, a new roof fitted, the old garages removed, parking extended, the green areas of the site have been enhanced as well as usual cosmetic improvements made. All contributing towards the site becoming a bright, modern and pleasant space in which to work.
Inspector Doug Downing for Royal Wootton Bassett commented "Officers usually based at the station have been temporarily relocated to local touchdown facilities at both the Town Council offices, during the day and the Fire Station, offering 24/7 access which has been really helpful. Usual briefings at the start of officers' shifts have been taking place from Malmesbury Police Station, which has also been utilised for admin and comfort breaks, prior to patrolling the local area. I am confident that the local community have retained a continued service and reassuring police presence throughout the improvements being undertaken but we are pleased to be getting back to our new and improved site."
The officers and staff from RWB commenced moving back into their usual base a few days ago.
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard is pleased to see the refurbishment come to fruition, he added "Together with the Police and Crime Commissioner, all our sites were reviewed and assessed. As an integral hub for the area, Royal Wootton Bassett required significant investment to remain suitable for 21st century policing. This is the latest phase of the plan and it's great to see the station finished and staff settling in, utilising the space. It's a huge improvement for our officers and for any members of the public who need to meet here."
Alongside investments in technology to enable more agile working practices, physical spaces are important too. We successfully share public spaces in several touchdown points across the county, enabling us to save valuable funds, yet also work in visible locations which are accessible to the public, should they need us.
Since the start of lockdown, many of the established touchdown points have been shut, therefore some of the previously closed, police-owned sites have been re-opened as office space to allow officers and staff more flexibility in socially distancing themselves whilst carrying out admin tasks and paperwork. These weren't, and still aren't, publically open sites but people in the local community may have noticed more police presence in these areas. We remain committed to being as efficient as possible with our estate holdings but keeping our staff and officers as safe as possible is paramount, therefore their ongoing use is currently required for now and in the foreseeable future. The use of these sites will be reviewed again, as and when the working guidelines are re-assessed. It is possible these specific locations will close again.