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The opening of a new Police Learning Centre on the Headquarters site in Bridgend represents a major investment to enable effective training of new and existing police officers and staff in South Wales.
Following a strategic review of its estate and with the national officer uplift programme in mind, South Wales Police has created a modern, efficient fit for purpose training facility to replace existing obsolete facilities spread across the force area. This rationalisation and modernisation will save money over the longer term.
This purpose-built facility houses all the teaching requirements within one building, on one site. The four storey building is a permanent base for Learning and Development Services and Human Resources.
Inside the training facility are two large training suites for fitness tests, taser training and officer safety training, plus classrooms and a lecture theatre.
Police & Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said:
“The Police Learning Centre development at Police Headquarters is a major investment in the training of new and existing police officers and staff, for today and for the future.
“Recruiting additional police officers and Police Community Support Officers as well as replacing those who are due to retire means that South Wales Police has to recruit and train around 1,000 new officers over the next three years. That is a monumental task and it’s vital that we have the right facilities to be able to do it.
“Training has been modernised beyond all recognition in recent years so these new facilities will enable us to deliver that high quality training which the public would expect us to provide for our future police officers.”
Until now our training facilities have been spread out across the force area and as a result of under-investment some buildings are in a very poor state and include the use of portable cabins.
The £28m new development forms part of a 10-year strategy to replace a number of outdated buildings which are expensive to repair and maintain. Part of this plan is being funded by the selling off a number of sites which will bring in £24m in capital receipts, a £19m saving on costs which would have been needed to run outdated buildings and a £2m reduction in annual running costs.
The Government’s Uplift programme to recruit 20,000 police officers as well as replacing those who are due to retire means that South Wales Police has to recruit and train around 1,000 new officers over a three-year period. Part of this training is classroom-based which requires a number of breakout rooms and meeting facilities which the external meeting pods will be used for.
Chief Financial Officer Umar Hussain said:
“South Wales Police has a proven track record of sound resource management and redeveloping its estate while maintaining an effective 24/7 emergency service. Our new training facilities are something to be proud of and what our new and existing officers and staff deserve. We have over many years worked with our partners to provide better services and more value for money to the public by not spending money on repairing obsolete buildings and thereby making substantial savings on running costs.
“This includes providing better facilities for our frontline officers and staff with new police stations and custody facilities at Cardiff Bay, Bridgend and Merthyr, a new station at Talbot Green, a new joint police and fire public service centre at Bridgend, a new vehicle maintenance centre in conjunction with Bridgend Council and shared community facilities such as Llanedeyrn Hub in collaboration with Cardiff Council and a new four partner Emergency Services Station in Llantwit Major.”