A brand new state-of-the-art police station has been opened to serve communities in Harrogate and the surrounding area.
Members of the public were given an opportunity to see inside the new £18m facility when North Yorkshire Police held an open day on Wednesday 9 May 2012, ahead of the station becoming operational on 17 May.
Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell and Chairman of North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA), Jane Kenyon, also welcomed guests from a wide range of partner agencies before marking the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Mr Maxwell said: "The need for a new station was identified many years ago and I am delighted to see the project come to fruition. The completion of the build is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning by a team of highly motivated and professional staff.
"Police officers and staff need the right tools for the job and a fitting working environment. The new facility will provide these essential basics for many years into the future, contributing to a first-class policing service for Harrogate communities while at the same time, helping to reduce the force's carbon footprint."
Chairman of NYPA Jane Kenyon, added: "This open day is the pinnacle of the careful and prudent financial planning undertaken over a number of years by the North Yorkshire Police Authority and force to invest significantly in the policing of Harrogate and the wider communities.
"This new state of the art station will provide a fantastic base for officers and improve the working conditions of many staff. The project has come in well under budget - almost £3m - and that is absolute testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of everyone working on this build. The gratitude of all of the members of North Yorkshire Police Authority is expressed not only to those involved but also to the communities of the Harrogate Borough who have worked with us to ensure that the project has been able to progress.
"When we started this ambitious project, we promised a town centre presence as well as this wonderful new facility. We have today delivered what we set out to do despite the very difficult financial situation we have recently worked through. This achievement is something of which we are extremely proud and the station will give service to the communities of Harrogate for many years to come."
Superintendent Barry Smith, the Safer Neighbourhood Commander for the Harrogate District, said: "The new station is a much welcomed facility for the officers and staff who serve the Harrogate District. We are delighted to finally be able to move in.
"Providing the best possible policing service for our communities is of paramount importance and having the right tools for the job helps us to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Earlier in the day, a private dedication service was held in the new Police Memorial Garden in memory of PC David Haigh, a Harrogate officer who was murdered on duty by Barry Prudhom on 17 June 1982.
The service was performed by the Force Chaplain, the Reverend Simon Rudkin, and was attended by PC Haigh's family and senior officers. The garden will become the official memorial garden for the force.
The new station becomes operational on 17 May with the old station on North Park Road being decommissioned over the coming weeks.
The new facility will be a 24-hour operational police base. Front counter opening times will be the same as the old station on North Park Road with the front office opening to members of the public between 8am and midnight, seven days a week.
Policing services can be access 24 hours a day by calling the non-emergency number 101, or 999 in an emergency, if your safety is threatened or if you see a crime in progress.
As a short-term measure, North Yorkshire Police has also opened a town centre police station to provide access for members of the public in the centre of Harrogate. Craven Lodge on Victoria Avenue is just metres away from the old station on North Park Road.
The force has also welcomed proposals from Harrogate Borough Council to purchase the North Park Road site for the development of new council headquarters. This gives North Yorkshire Police the option to co-locate with the council, providing a permanent town centre base in the longer term.
During the construction of the new station, 50% of all contractors employed by the construction company, GB Building Solutions, were from Harrogate or the surrounding area. The local economy has also benefited with contractors using local hotels and guest houses, sandwich shops, cafes and restaurants.
Key facts about the new Harrogate Police Station
· Cost £18m - £2.8m under original budget. This has been met by efficiency savings and income raised from the sale of outdated and unused property.