Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Services are currently offered from three sites within West Mercia. The northern area of the force is mostly served by the Northern CSI Hub located at Shrewsbury Police Station. The southern and western areas of the force are mostly covered by the Southern CSI Hub which is currently dual located at Kidderminster and Worcester police stations. The Southern Hub is run as a virtual hub in terms of its operation and shifts.
It has been the ambition since transitioning to out of the Alliance with Warwickshire, and as part of the CSI Transformation Project, to rationalise and optimise West Mercia Police (WMP) CSI capability from a single northern hub and single southern hub.
This has been recommended as a method change within West Mercia Police Priority Based Planning (PBP). This will realise cost, operational and welfare benefits, as well as returning operational accommodation space back to Local Policing Areas (LPA’s) in North and South Worcestershire. Proximity to other Forensic Services units and facilities makes Hindlip Park the preferred site. This request has already been referenced as an operational, tactical and strategic dependency, routed into the Hindlip Master plan for OPCC Estate (Record of Decision PCC/D/2023/16).
The Business Case CSI South – Relocation to Hindlip Forensic Services (Appendix 1) details the case for the relocation and for release of capital funding. This business case has the full support of WMP from operational, tactical, and Chief Officer levels
It is proposed that the PCC approve the release of capital funding up to £28,597, to deliver the project for the relocation of CSI South, to Hindlip Park.
That a £28,597 revenue contribution to capital is made from the 24/25 revenue budget in relation to the cost avoidance as a result of the rationalisation of the number of CSI Hubs
Approval of West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner
I hereby approve the above proposal.
Part One – Non-Confidential/Exempt Facts and Figures
There is a requirement to resolve a number of enduring accommodation challenges, within West Mercia Police Crime & Vulnerability directorate.
The CSI South service had been previously considered for the December 2021 Hindlip Masterplan, however, at the time the space requirements could not be accommodated at Hindlip.
Recent activity and planning around the Crime and Vulnerability estate moves has shown that there is the scope and opportunity to relocate both teams of the current southern CSI hub into a single location, within the current Forensic Services accommodation at Hindlip.
Relocating to Hindlip is cost effective and is minimally disruptive. By optimising the capacity of the Forensic Services (FS) estate, together with the provision of fit for purpose parking for the FS fleet, this releases other potentially suitable areas for CSI outside of FS with that identified space being better utilised elsewhere. This proposal also releases estate at both Kidderminster and Worcester for other purposes, supporting the West Mercia ‘future ways of working’ principles. Examples of benefits include but are not limited to;
- Relocating the existing CSI hubs at Kidderminster and Worcester to Hindlip (previously accounted for within the Masterplan)
- Generating efficiencies in line with budgets to reduce the number of forensic laboratories across the Force
- An opportunity to relocate other dependent police functions, in line with potential to fall under the command of Intelligence as proposed by WMP Operational Support through the PBP process
This solution is based on the revised WMP operational, tactical, and strategic requirements, whilst also being in line with the principles, aims and objectives of the Masterplan.
WMP have acknowledged the requirement for the release of Capital funding in year 2023/24 and have provided a Business Case (Appendix 1) in support of this proposal, which is endorsed by Chief Officers. With the South CSI Hub located at Hindlip, being accommodated within the existing Forensic Department footprint, this is now a self-contained project proposal and can be accelerated. This will enable any (low impact) estates work to commence in advance of the wider Hindlip Masterplan proposals and will take account of the management of change timelines / ability to realise WMP’s proposed 2023/24 capital funding and cost savings within that financial year.
This decision supports the following element(s) of the Safer West Mercia Plan:
- Putting Victims and Survivors First
- Building a More Secure West Mercia
- Reforming West Mercia
- Reassuring West Mercia’s Communities
The decision supports this/ these objective(s) through the following:
- Delivering significant improvements by replacing dated and unsuitable working environments, with modern, fit for purpose accommodation and facilities, to fully enable WMP to serve the communities of West Mercia
- Maximising the benefits of co-location in reducing costs and improved working practices
- Ensuring a robust response to serious and organised crime, to reduce the harm it causes to the communities of West Mercia
- Manages buildings assets and resources to maximise value, effectiveness, and efficiency to meet demand
Benefits and their Realisation
Addresses identified organisational risk, whilst striving for a model which accounts for future requirements, in the most efficient and cost-effective way
Service transformation and integration with internal and external partner teams and functions
Provision of fit-for purpose modern facilities to support policing leading to operational efficiencies
Champions the future ways of working principles, which have been applied to enable the proposed changes to take place
All existing business functions at Hindlip can continue to be accommodated / will not be displaced
There will be a final review to ensure that these principles have been equitably applied across all business areas, with stakeholders encouraged to adopt a critical friend approach This approach will deliver against several of the proposed priorities within the most recent Hindlip Master Plan
Chris O’Hara – Head of Estates OPCC
Date 1st June 2023
Financial and Treasurer Comments
A capital bid of £27k was approved and provided in the 2023/24 Budget Report, to support the delivery of the relocation of CSI South to Hindlip.
The full Business Case included at Appendix 1, has identified that the full costs of the works are quoted to be £28,597. This represents an additional funding requirement of £1,597 on the estimated budget. OPCC Estates & WMP Contracts & Procurement teams have provided assurance that the costs of construction are reasonable in the current economic climate.
The reduction in the number of hubs required in the south of West Mercia from 2 to 1 will result in the following future cost avoidance on the closed site.
- Requirement to obtain ISOI 7020 accreditation — Approx £22-£25k
- Requirement to obtain Major Crime Scene accreditation — Approx £15-£18k
- An annual requirement to maintain accreditation — approx. £8k
There is a small additional revenue cost in year one to reimburse staff for additional mileage incurred, estimated to be £3k
The financial case identifies that there is a Return on the Investment in year 1 through not being required to obtain accreditation on that site. There are then ongoing revenue savings in future years.
The funding for the capital spend will be from a revenue contribution to capital, which can be made from the 24/25 revenue budget reflecting the cost avoidance identified above.
In terms of value for money there are further benefits identified from the colocation of the teams to support policing activity. There are also potential further benefits to utilise the space made available in Kidderminster and Worcester when the CSI teams relocate to Hindlip. Therefore the proposal is supported.
By virtue of schedule 11, paragraph 14 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 the Police and Crime Commissioner may do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of commissioner. That includes entering into contracts and other agreements (whether legally binding or not) and acquiring and disposing of property (including land).
Public Access to Information
Information in this form is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and other legislation. Part 1 of this form will be made available on the West Mercia Commissioner’s website. Any facts and advice that should not be made automatically available on request are not included in Part 1 but instead in a separate Part 2 report.
Chief Executive Officer
Date: 13th June 2023