Plans for a new armed police training facility for Staffordshire Police have progressed to the next stage, as part of the Staffordshire Commissioner’s commitment to investing in the facilities the force needs to keep our communities safe.
The proposed new indoor facility will be built at the force’s headquarters in Stafford at an estimated cost of £14.8 million, subject to further scoping activity, replacing existing blocks which are old, in poor condition and no longer fit for purpose.
The training centre will provide specialist officers with a purpose-built soundproofed facility that meets national standards and their current and future needs, offering state-of-the-art facilities including a 50-metre indoor firing range and training rooms.
Staffordshire Police currently leases an outdoor range, but due to issues with the suitability and long-term availability of the site, a detailed review was conducted to understand the force’s future requirements and evaluate a range of alternative options to meet them. The review included practical options for sharing a facility with neighbouring forces, but these proved unfeasible.
The recommended option secures the provision of training in a facility under the control of Staffordshire Police, fully complies with all Health and Safety legislation and guidance and, because it is within the force area, allows officers to deploy more quickly in Staffordshire when needed.
Work on the new facility is expected to begin in 2024, and should be completed by September 2025.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams said: “Police firearms deployments in Staffordshire are relatively low, but when our communities need an armed response to keep them safe, it is essential that the force has the right training and facilities in place to deliver the highest quality service.
“Police forces have a legal responsibility to meet not only national College of Policing standards but also local strategic threat and risk assessments. These have evolved considerably in recent years, requiring solutions that improve services, protect the public from harm and deliver value for money for the long term.
“Using public money efficiently is a priority for me, and this investment is part of a wider estates plan for Staffordshire Police to ensure buildings are sustainable and future proof. The initial budget for the facility was set at £18 million, and these revised proposals represent a significant saving on that figure while fully meeting the force’s operational requirements.”
Deputy Chief Constable, Emma Barnett, said: “The safety of the public is our top priority. In order to achieve this, it is sometimes necessary to deploy armed officers.
“Although firearms deployments remain relatively low and Staffordshire remains one of the safest places to live, work and visit, it is vital that our Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) are appropriately trained and equipped to respond to the most serious incidents in order to protect the public.
“This investment into a bespoke firearms training facility delivers upon these requirements – safeguarding our response to firearms-related activity in the community both now and in the future.”