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Work begins on state-of-the-art Thames Valley Forensics Centre

WORK has officially started on a new forensics centre for Thames Valley Police (TVP) with a groundbreaking event attended by the police and crime commissioner Matthew Barber.

Procured through SCF by Willmott Dixon, the purpose-built centre will become the main hub for the TVP’s forensic investigation unit, containing laboratories, new digital technologies and dedicated training facilities.

Also attending the event was TVP’s deputy chief constable Ben Snuggs and head of forensic services, Kay Hannam, who joined Matthew Barber in digging the first section of ground at the site near Avonbury Business Park in Bicester with the Willmott Dixon team and the centre’s designers Atkins.

It is part of the force’s wider forensic improvement programme, which will see significant investment over the next three years to transform forensic services, improving investigations and the outcomes for victims.

Mr Barber said: 

“I was delighted to put the first spade in the ground marking the start of construction on our new purpose-built forensics centre. This is an exciting new chapter for Thames Valley Police. Ensuring the police are on the cutting edge of forensics is critical to keeping the public safe.

“Whether the crime is burglary, sexual offences or other serious violence, it is vital we work to stay one step ahead of the criminals. This significant investment in our estate will transform our forensics service, providing state-of-the-art support for operational policing and delivering improved outcomes for victims. It will also futureproof our forensics capability and capacity helping us to meet existing and future demand.”

Work will complete in winter 2024/25. During the first few months, the focus will be on installing a temporary car park, below ground drainage, pouring foundations, and constructing the building slab. In terms of works out the ground, the concrete frame will commence in November.

Oliver Hatton, director at Pick Everard, added: 

“The new forensic investigation unit for Thames Valley Police is a hugely important scheme that will provide a state-of-the-art facility to support the intricate work of the forensics department. As project manager and quantity surveyor for the project, we’re part of a focused project team that aims to deliver a quality, fit for purpose building, filled with the latest technology. This new forensic investigation unit will have a long lasting legacy by assisting in providing justice to victims and solving crimes.”

Deputy chief constable Snuggs said:

“I am really excited that we are able to mark the beginning of the building work on our new forensics building. When complete, this facility will provide a state-of-the-art space for our forensic investigation teams and improve our service delivery to the public. It will also enable Thames Valley Police to enhance its forensic provision with a variety of crime scene investigation and digital roles, as well providing bespoke on-site training facilities for staff and students.