Search underway for construction team who left time capsule at Merseyside Police Station
1 month ago
WANTED: A search is underway for the construction team who ‘participated in the crime’ of building St Anne Street Station more than 50 years ago, as it reopens its doors after a major refurbishment today.
Merseyside Police officers are searching for the bricklayers and hod carriers from Cubitts, including ‘Swooper’, ‘Smiler’ and the ‘Boss’ who they believe may have vital information about the development of the original site.**
The search was sparked after a time capsule was discovered buried in the fabric of the building during the refurbishment containing a confession note from the original construction team admitting ‘the crime’ alongside a newspaper from the day – Friday October 29, 1971 – which coincided with British MPs voting by a 112 majority to join the European Union.
This five-decade history of the building will be celebrated as Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy welcome the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside Mark Blundell, to officially re-open the building today.
They will be joined by officers and staff who worked from St Anne Street when it first opened its doors.
Dignitaries will be ceremonially welcomed by members of Merseyside’s Mounted section before the keys are handed over to the PCC and Chief Constable by Louise Daville, Director of Public Sector Strategy at construction firm ISG, the principal contractors on the site, and the Lord Lieutenant declares the building open for business once again.
St Anne Street first opened for business in 1972 and has gone on to become Merseyside Police’s busiest operational station.
Work to completely refurbish the station, including adding a new floor, began in April 2021. Now transformed, the five-storey station boasts open plan working spaces and modern AV equipment within each meeting room and will house 450 officers and staff, including teams from Local Policing, Protecting Vulnerable People, Investigations, Fingerprints and the Economic Crime Team.
Adjacent to Merseyside Police’s state-of-the-art new headquarters Rose Hill, St Anne Street now boasts a similar facade, helping to create a ‘campus’ feel across the site. With a modern new insulated cladding system, LED lighting throughout, electric car charging points and solar panels, the transformation has improved the building’s energy efficiency while reducing carbon emissions, helping to support Merseyside Police’s drive to be the most sustainable force in the country.
The major renovation is another key step in the PCC’s recently refreshed Estate Strategy focused on ensuring Merseyside Police is fit to fight crime, now and into the future. The 12-year plan details how work will continue to modernise and update Merseyside Police’s stations and facilities to ensure officers and staff are in the right places and best equipped to serve communities across the region.
Now all staff have moved back into the station, the PCC and Chief Constable will be able to release Merseyside’s Police former headquarters in Canning Place and Smithdown Lane Station, both of which were used to accommodate staff while the refurbishment took place.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:
“Finding this time capsule from the original builders was an unexpected surprise, giving a fascinating window into the history of Merseyside Police’s busiest operational station.
“Their ‘crime’ back in 1971 has certainly stood the test of time; St Anne Street has faithfully served Merseyside Police for more than 50 years.
“Policing has come a long way since then and it’s important we take the right steps to ensure Merseyside Police is fit to fight crime, now and in the future. To do that, we are committed to providing state-of-the-art stations facilities for our officers and staff and it’s great to see how St. Anne Street station has been transformed over the past two years.
“I’m delighted to join the Chief Constable to welcome the Lord Lieutenant to officially re-open the building today and it’s a pleasure to have some of the officers and staff who were stationed here when it first opened to give us an insight into how things have changed.
“This major refurbishment will ensure St Anne Street is affordable, sustainable, and future-proofed for many years to come, providing officers and staff with the modern facilities and equipment they need to serve our communities.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said:
“I am delighted that staff are able to return to work at St Anne Street station, which has been a busy and important operational station for the force since it first opened over 50 years ago.
“It has taken over two years for the extensive refurbishments to take place, but a lot has changed in policing since the 1970s and it is vital that our police stations are modern, accessible, cost effective and fit for purpose for the staff and officers who are based there.
“The force is committed to putting the communities of Merseyside in everything we do. By providing this modern facility means that we can continue to look after our officers and staff and support them in providing the highest level of service to the public.”
The money for the project has been part funded by capital specifically set aside for the Force’s buildings and part borrowed from approved sources, in accordance with the Prudential Code for capital finance. This money is completely separate from the funding used to pay for Merseyside’s Police’s officers and staff and cannot be diverted to fund operational policing.
All the money saved on the cost of running St Anne Street Police Station will be directed straight into frontline policing.
As part of the PCC and Chief Constable’s commitment to social value, nearly 50% of the workforce and resources deployed on the refurbishment came from within Merseyside. The project also saw nine new jobs created, as well as four apprenticeships, with more than 330 apprentice weeks on site.
Louise Daville, Director of Public Sector Strategy at ISG, said:
“The search for the Cubitts team behind the construction of the original block is heart-warming. Their work is part of the fabric of this building, and it was a pleasure for ISG to be able to write the next chapter, as St Anne Street Police Station moves into a modern, brighter, and more energy-efficient home.
“Creating spaces that enable blue light services to protect and serve our communities is incredibly rewarding. We are proud to be part of the building’s evolution, and to have left a legacy of value in the community through our social value efforts, and apprenticeship and job creation.”