Middlemoor Criminal Justice Centre – Virtual Site Visit

Thursday 3rd June 2021

On Thursday 28th May we were fortunate enough to have our first ‘Virtual Site Visit’ exploring the Middlemoor Criminal Justice Centre that was procured through SCF.

With representatives from both Willmott Dixon (the Contractors), and Devon and Cornwall Police, we were given an insightful presentation summarising exactly how the building has facilitated modern methods of policing, and further, how this has been achieved through the pandemic.

Precision for Policing

The new Criminal Justice Centre houses two areas: an operational hub housing modern offices and meeting spaces, and a 40 cell custody suite – a section of the building that used pre-cast modern methods of construction to allow for millimetre precision. Not only was this required to meet the quality threshold for a detainee centre, but also through its design increased health & safety for Police Officers and detainees within the premises. The need for such precision planning was quickly apparent with just one example of exact proportions  for air intake incorporated around high security doors for each cell is calculated to ensure sufficient air exchange for a healthy environment (without compromising the cells security): something that became especially important during the Pandemic.

Further spurred on by the events of the past year, a Virtual Court was also constructed to deliver trials and plea hearings throughout the various Covid restrictions. This agile approach to the changing demands was then focused on opening the Criminal Justice Centre two weeks earlier than originally anticipated – a feat that was achieved, and just in time for the first detainee (only a few minutes after opening the doors!).

Serve (the community) and Protect (the environment)

Willmott Dixon have done an exceptional job, not only ensuring the building is fit and future proof for the developments of modern day Policing but have also managed to achieve BREEAM Excellence putting the Middlemoor Criminal Justice Centre in the top 10% of sustainable building in the UK. Additionally, with 75% of local spend within 60 miles of the site, the environmental considerations were clearly not limited to the final product.

Beyond this, the CCS Certificate of Excellence has also been awarded. Considering the herculean task of completing such a high demand build, as well as completing it during a pandemic, receiving this award for environmental, public, and workforce considerations is highly commendable.

Notable mention must also be made to the Social Value roadmap created by Willmott Dixon and supported by the Police force. Beyond exceeding the SCF Employment & Skills Plan targets, other engagement activities included: engaging over 1703 students, Willmott Dixon attending ‘check out work’ events helping inmates get ‘job ready’ for when they leave prison and engaging 36 ex-offenders through the project.

Thank you

Major thanks have to go to the representatives from Willmott Dixon and the Police force who provided such an informative presentation, as well as showing exactly what a project scoring 10/10 on Collaborative Approach can achieve.

We look forward to hearing more in the future about how this SCF project serves the community – although I’m not sure any of us plan on an impromptu visit at any point!