Officers and staff are being moved out of Reigate Police Station following the discovery of dangerous crumbly concrete inside the building. The move leaves CCTV of public spaces in Mole Valley unmonitored.
The public-facing police counter will also move to Caterham Police Station from Monday, October 30. Surrey Police said it carried out an investigation of its buildings for the presence of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in September after the national scandal broke following its discovery in schools.
No specific timeframe is provided for how long officers will be moved from Reigate, as it depends on finding a permanent resolution for the issues with the building. The Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said the move would be “A challenging time for our policing teams.
Structural engineers confirmed RAAC was used in the construction of Reigate Police Station. Distressed RAAC can suddenly collapse with no apparent warning. The majority of the dangerous concrete at the station is said to still be in good condition and is not an immediate risk but one external area was showing signs of distress – Surrey Police said in a release issued after questions from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The force immediately relocated staff and officers from the area in immediate danger, on the advice of engineers, to elsewhere in the police station, and installed supports to reinforce the roof. According to Surrey Police, this has now been signed off and can be reoccupied.
Engineers have also been instructed to carry out weekly checks on the rest of the station in order to allow its neighbourhood policing team to operate out of the station “until a longer-term solution can be found”. The public-facing police counter will move to Caterham Police Station from Monday, October 30.
The station also monitors the public spaces CCTV camera for Mole Valley District Council. Surrey Police said it will no longer be able to continue this service with discussions ongoing over “potential technical solutions”. A public consultation has also been launched on the future provision of CCTV in the area.
Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend: “I want to reassure our local communities across East Surrey that plans are already in place to ensure the policing service they receive will not be affected by the situation at Reigate Police Station. The safety of the public and our officers, staff and volunteers must be the most important consideration and I fully support the prompt action being taken by the force to vacate the majority of the building.
“This, of course, is a temporary measure, and my office will work closely with the chief constable and his team to ensure that we can find a long-term solution for the future of our Eastern Divisional HQ as quickly as possible. This is a challenging time for our policing teams based at Reigate, but they are incredibly resilient in the face of adversity, and I want to thank them all on behalf of the public for their patience and understanding whilst we deal with this issue.”
Other police teams will work remotely or from alternative sites where possible. The police insist the changes will not impact service levels expected from the force.
Temporary assistant chief constable for local policing, Alison Barlow, said: “The health and safety of our staff, officers, volunteers, and the public is of paramount importance and the force responded swiftly following the identification of RAAC at Reigate Police Station.
“In the short-term some teams, including our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, who spend much of their time away from the police station patrolling and attending calls for service, remain in the area of Reigate police station with prop-supports in place whilst longer-term options are explored, and those teams who are office-based and can work remotely or from another police site are being supported to do so.”
[Surrey Police’s counter service in Epsom is located during normal business hours only within the Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom. Reigate Police Station’s counter-service was open full-time, so from now out of hours personal attendances will have to go to Caterham or Staines or Guildford.]