An ambitious project will see a multiagency enforcement hub in Derby city centre as part of robust action to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.
It will see Derbyshire Constabulary working with Derby City Council and the University of Derby to provide a joint base at Riverside Chambers, the former magistrates’ court building on Full Street, which is now part of the Connect Derby managed workspace scheme.
The final touches are underway on the building and it is hoped police teams will be ready to move in early this summer.
The Multi-Agency City Centre Hub will accommodate 25 officers including the City Safer Neighbourhood Team, Special Constables and Police Cadets as well as officers from Derby City Council.
It will also provide a base for those embarking on Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships (PCDA), as well as Policing and Criminology students from the University, to encourage collaborative work across the city.
The new project has been developed in partnership between the University of Derby, Derby City Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner to stem problems of street begging, anti-social behaviour and drug use on the streets of Derby.
Since then, partners have been working hard to proactively manage the problems, delivering specialist engagement and support to help individuals recover and secure permanent accommodation and delivering robust enforcement against those who resist help or continue to impact on public safety.
Chief Superintendent Dave Cox, who leads policing in the city, said: “The new hub is a fantastic asset to help keep the residents and visitors safe in Derby.
“This couldn’t have happened without the partnership work of the Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Derby University, we already work very closely but to have a single base to operate from will foster ever closer ties between the staff from agencies.
“The opening of the hub also ties in to the COVID-19 roadmap which will see the night-time economy opening back up and the hub will provide a great base from which to welcome people back into the city.”
It will also deliver an opportunity for degree students to test their skills in a real police and partnership environment, with access to criminal justice processes, case studies, problem-solving and briefing experience.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa said: “This is a really exciting milestone for all of us and another significant outcome from my Summit. I am proud that we have reached an advanced stage of discussions.
“We have a duty to protect those who live, work and visit the city and we believe by co-locating some of our resources, we will deliver better outcomes for the communities we all serve.
“We have achieved so much in a short time, but we can go much further, and we will. The new hub will enable us to respond to challenges in a coordinated way and maximise the expertise, skills and experience of our collective personnel.”
Alongside an open plan working space, the new hub will provide a dedicated briefing facility enabling the blue light organisations to share intelligence more effectively and host joint night-time economy briefings involving police, taxi marshals, street pastors and licencing staff.
Councillor Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council said that the move was a nod to the excellent partnership working across the city.
“I’m delighted to welcome the multi-agency Hub to our Riverside Chambers. Having a presence in the city centre centrally will undoubtedly instil confidence with our residents, visitors, and businesses,” he said.
“I’d like to thank officers at Derby City Council for their hard work to facilitate the Hub. They have been working on this for some time now, and by offering premises free of charge for a time, we’ve been able to expedite it and get officers on the beat in the city.”
The Grade II listed building was the subject of a £4m refurbishment in 2016, and will offer on-site parking, interview rooms, a secure evidence room, a taser room, storage facilities and body worn video download capability as well as a refreshment area and locker room/showers.
Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby said: “This initiative has the potential to transform the way crime and its associated social issues are addressed in future, not just in Derby, but in many other cities and communities.
“The University’s role will be to apply academic research methods to the way in which issues and problems caused by crime in our communities are resolved, working in close co-operation with Derbyshire Police to take new approaches which can help to make a real impact in the city.
“It will also provide a superb opportunity for our students to obtain unrivalled work experience opportunities supporting policing and community safety professionals, which will not only complement their education but will enable them to make a difference which improves the quality of life for local people.”