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Report 10 of the 23 June 2011 meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee, seeks approval, subject to planning consent, to the development of a 40 cell custody and office facility on the former police station site at Wood Green, Haringey in line with the approved strategy and corporate real estate principles.

Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

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Proposals for the development of a 40 cell custody and office facility on the site of the former police station at Wood Green Haringey

Report: 10
Date: 23 June 2011
By: Assistant Commissioner Territorial Policing and the Director of Resources on behalf of the Commissioner


A detailed custody business case report recommending the provision of custody centres throughout London to meet long term custody needs was approved by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in 2006.

The need to provide further custody provision throughout the MPA estate to support MPS operations is widely accepted and funding has been included within the approved Programme Budget in the current 7 year Capital Programme-2011/2018 presented to the MPA in March 2011.

As part of the Territorial Policing Development programme Custody Improvement Project the MPS has reviewed the current operational arrangements in regard to custody facilities; identifying opportunities to enhance management practices, improve utilisation of key locations and enable further rationalisation within the MPA estate. The Custody Improvement operating model will be considered by the TP Development Programme Board in June2011. The provision of the new custody facilities at Wood Green supports both the current need for improved facilities for Haringey and surrounding boroughs and the proposed TP Development Custody Improvement Project operating model.

In line with current operational needs and the Custody Improvement project operating model that will be considered in June, this report requests authorisation to proceed with the development of a 40 cell custody and office facility on the site of the former police station at Wood Green, Haringey to support operational policing.

A. Recommendations

The Committee is asked to approve the following:

  1. Approve, subject to planning consent, the development of a 40 cell custody and office facility on the former police station site at Wood Green, Haringey in line with the approved strategy and corporate real estate principles.
  2. Approve the Capital project budget allocation of £20.993m from the approved overall capital programme budget, and note that provision for the revenue implications associated with this proposal are included in the 2011/14 Business Plan.
  3. Approve the proposal to procure the construction contracts associated with this project through the Improvement and Efficiency South East (IESE), formerly South East Centre of Excellence (SECE) framework as approved by MPA Finance Committee in November 2007.
  4. Agree to delegate authority to MPS through the approved scheme of delegation to approve the letting of contracts associated with the development of the 40 cell custody and office facility which have an approved project budget allocation of up to £20.993m.

B. Supporting information

1. A detailed custody ‘Business Case’ report was approved by the MPS Investment Board and MPA Finance Committee in 2006. This report highlighted the need to address custody provision on a short, medium and long-term basis, and approval was given to work towards the rationalisation of facilities through the provision of centralised custody centres to provide 20, 30 or 40 cell facilities.

2. Since this date, MPA have approved a number of schemes. Leyton Custody Centre opened in November 2010, Barking Custody Centre opened in March 2011 and Heathrow Custody Centre in April 2011. Construction of Custody Centres in Wandsworth and Croydon is in progress. There are currently 52 24/7 custody suites across London complimented by 18 overflow facilities as at January 2011, which together provide approximately 980 cells for MPS use. This figure is relatively fluid as suites are being opened / closed as facilities are rationalised. At present each Borough currently has at least one custody suite.

3. The MPA receive an annual update report on the progress of the custody centre build programmes; the next update will be provided in July 2011.

4. As part of the TP Development Custody Improvement Project (CIP) the MPS has reviewed the current operational arrangements in regard to custody facilities; identifying opportunities to enhance management practices, improve utilisation of key locations and enable further rationalisation within the MPA estate.

5. The TP Development CIP operating model will be considered by the TP Development Programme Board in June 2011. TP Development are developing a recommendation to implement new processes which enable the allocation of custody cells and resources to be managed by CCC to increase efficiency, with custody being staffed by full time teams to improve professionalism. If approved, the number and location of custody suites, their operating hours and staffing levels will be determined centrally, and the composition of the custody estate will be based upon operational demand – as opposed to the earlier model of Borough by Borough based custody centre provision. Cell space and custody resources will take into account detainee risk and evidential need rather than just geographical factors. Increased efficiency will be delivered through an improved resourcing model for custody and through more effective utilisation of the estate.

6. The quality of certain existing facilities; the operational inefficiencies that result in operating from locations with limited cell numbers and the geographical dispersal of locations within the MPS estate has been widely reported. Haringey and Enfield boroughs will be the main beneficiaries of the new custody facility at Wood Green with surrounding boroughs, for example the north of Camden, Islington and Hackney and the east of Barnet, able to access the new facilities. This will result in the use of the new custody facilities being maximised and enable the MPS to review the use of those buildings where custody will no longer operate from.

7. In 2006, the MPA approved a proposal to re-develop Wood Green police station to provide a new 40 cell facility. The scheme was paused to reflect on public/community concerns that were made during the Town Planning consultative process to enable a revised design to be developed with the BOCU and TP Custody team. The most recent public consultation has been favourable and a formal application for Town Planning consent was submitted earlier this month. Both the local community, the local MP and GLA Member have been consulted. An Operational Suitability Assessment for the site was carried out by the Haringey Command Team. This shows overwhelming support for this project from both BOCU teams; partner agencies and stakeholders. In light of the TP Development CIP, the provision of a new facility at this site has also been reviewed by the TP Development CIP team to ensure that it will meet the future needs of custody provision under a new service delivery model.

The existing Wood Green police station has already closed pending re-development. The site is ideally located in the centre of the Borough, surrounded by areas of high arrest demand. It has good road links to surrounding areas as outlined in paragraph 6 and is close to the North Circular Road. The nearest underground station is only a five minute walk away and there is an overground railway station at Alexandra Palace approx 10 minutes walk away. There are also very good bus links past the site.

8. The Project consists of the construction a three storey stand alone Custody Facility. The Lower Basement will contain parking for 22 operational vehicles, with 5 additional spaces in the ground floor yard. The Ground floor will contain the charge, process and detention facilities, including 40 Cells, 8 Recorded Interview Rooms and 8 Solicitors Consultation Rooms. The upper floors will contain the Locker and Office facilities for 300 staff and visitors. The location is a brown field site at the junction of High Road Wood Green and Nightingale Road, the whole of the site will be used for the new building and the facade of the existing police station is to be retained to address local heritage concerns.

The design will include improved energy efficiency and use of renewable technology (Photovoltaic cells) to improve the carbon footprint.

9. The former police station at Wood Green is now vacant. Front counter facilities were relocated in June 2010, and are provided at the Alexandra and Bounds Green Safer Neighbourhoods base 287 High Road, Wood Green; close to Wood Green town centre. This facility provides accommodation for 2 SN teams and the schools office. Initial discussions have taken place in relation to ensuring separate facilities for victims and suspects of crime in the future and discussions are ongoing in relation to the separation of these functions following the delivery of the custody centre. All patrolling functions are based at Quicksilver Place, Western Road, Wood Green with the BOCU SMT located at Tottenham Police Station. . Demolition works to the properties to the rear of the site that do not form part of the future development proposals will be undertaken shortly.

10. As part of the agreement to transfer the front counter from Wood Green police station to the SN base, the MPS undertook to monitor the use of the new front counter facility. This is subject of the TP Development Public Access review. It was also agreed that the MPS would assess the cost and other implications of any future move of the front counter to the new facility and this will be fully considered and subject to local engagement activity prior to final approval of plans for the new site.

11. In November 2007, the MPA approved the use of the Improvement and Efficiency South East (IESE), formerly South East Centre of Excellence (SECE) framework in procuring major construction projects in particular the provision of custody facilities. Construction works in Leyton, Heathrow and Barking and Dagenham have all been procured in this way, and the use of a Framework Agreement is intended for the requisite works connected with the development project which is subject of this report. Post occupancy evaluations are now underway to analyse the benefits and further opportunities that future designs and building solutions can provide to meet operational needs. The cost of this development proposal is detailed within the financial implications below.

12. Should approval be given to proceed with this project, the MPS request agreement to delegate authority under the approved scheme of delegation, to approve and proceed with the letting of contracts of all works goods and services contracts that have prior funding approval, within the approved project budget allocation. This will assist with the overall timetable to deliver the project.

C. Other organisational and community implications

Equality and diversity impacts

1. An Equalities Impact assessment is being prepared by the BOCU with input from Property Services and DoI.

2. The redevelopment of the building will be fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements. The redevelopment will include suitable changing/rest facilities and exercise facilities with night kitchen functionality.

3. The building will provide a modern environment that is accessible to staff, with excellent public transport links and car parking facilities for those requiring access.

Consideration of MET Forward

4. This paper aligns with the strategic intent of MET Forward section 7, Met Support, in particular the Estates Programme demonstrating value for money in the allocation of finding to this project. The proposal also supports the MPA/MPS Estates Strategy.

Financial Implications


1. In March 2011 the MPA approved the Capital Budget covering the period from 2011 to 2018 for projects under the Custody Centre Programme totals £171.580m. Schemes approved to date total £62.240m leaving a balance of £109.34m (this excludes proposals in regard to 4 extension / refurbishment projects which is the subject of a separate paper being presented to this Committee).

2. The anticipated total budget for this project is £20.993 m as detailed in Exempt Appendix 1.


3. The Revenue implications of this project for PSD have already been factored into medium term financial plans (MTFP). The impact on DoI will be included in future MTFP planning by DoI offset against savings made from building closures.

Legal Implications

4. The terms of reference of this Committee allow members to consider and determine issues in respect of the MPA estate and other resources.

5. All regulated contracts for works, goods and services that are required for the proposed development and refurbishment of the custody suite and offices set out in this report will need to be procured in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations 2006, EU Directives and MPA contract regulations.

Environmental Impact

6. The building will be designed to achieve a very good or excellent BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Measurement) rating and incorporate the provision of 20% renewable energy. Further environmental enhancements such as rainwater harvesting will be considered at detailed design stage in line with the MPS Sustainable Design guidelines and process.

The anticipated environmental implications are tabulated below:

  Higher Lower No impact Mitigation/ management of any higher impact
Level of energy use and associated carbon dioxide emissions   Tick   Buildings equipped with modern efficient M&E installations and to be insulated to current building regulation standards. Compliance to the Mayor’s draft replacement London plan target of 20% energy generated from on site renewables
Level of water consumption   Tick   Using modern equipment and plant, together with potential use of rainwater harvesting.
Level of waste generation/waste requiring disposal   Tick   Recycling initiatives to be commenced after opening new facilities. The MPS are signed up to the WRAP construction waste initiative which results in 90% being diverted from landfill.
Level of travel and transport and associated emissions     Tick No additional staff commuter parking. Locations determined by availability of public transport
Raw material use and finite resources (use of recycled materials and sustainable alternatives) Tick     The scheme designs will seek to, within economic bounds, maximise the use of recycled material and sustainable resources in line with best practice / regulation.

Risk Implications

7. The development of a new custody centre will facilitate the opportunity to deliver efficient and effective support services whilst minimizing the cost of accommodation and maximise use of facilities.

D. Background papers

  • MPA Finance Committee - 19 September 2007 – Appointments to the Custody Centre and Patrol Base Programmes utilising the SECE Major Works Framework

E. Contact details

Report authors: Jane Bond, Director of Property Services, MPS
Contact: Roger Harding, Divisional Director Construction, Property Services, MPS

For more information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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