Emergency services precinct praised

19:27, Aug 05 2012
Paul Henderson
PAUL HENDERSON: "I have spent 33 years working for the fire service in the UK and have never seen anything as innovative as this."

A justice and emergency services hub in central Christchurch is "long overdue", a police boss says.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit's blueprint for the city released on Monday unveiled plans for a precinct that brings together all the emergency services, the Department for Courts and the Corrections Department.

The precinct would be in the block bounded by Lichfield, Tuam, Durham and Colombo streets. The low-rise buildings would house between 1300 and 1400 workers.

Acting district commander Detective Superintendent Peter Read said the precinct was "long overdue" and would probably become a blueprint for other cities.

"Australia is already going along this line with anything new they are building.

"There will be some great things come out of it and there will be a lot of efficiencies for us. The main one will be around emergency disaster management. All of the main responders can be brought together in a matter of minutes."


Other efficiencies would include moving prisoners directly from police cells to court cells without the need of prison vans, linking computer systems and increased training between the agencies.

"You can also imagine more training between the groups . . . we are working towards a paperless society and you can imagine the computer systems being linked - transmitting a police file straight to police prosecutors at court."

Canterbury Fire Service director of strategic redevelopment Paul Henderson said having responders at one site was particularly important for senior managers.

"I think it's an exciting concept and I have never seen it anywhere else in the world.

"I have spent 33 years working for the fire service in the UK and have never seen anything as innovative as this. It's a very exciting prospect for us."

The Fire Service component would include a joint command centre, regional headquarters and operational facilities, he said.

It had yet to be determined how many operational staff would be housed at the site. "We are currently looking at deployment across the whole of Christchurch to determine where appropriate sites should be for other fire stations."

Justice Ministry deputy secretary for Christchurch recovery Jared Mullen said the new hub would create shorter waiting times for people.

The ministry was working through a business case to be presented to the Government by the end of the year.

The direct transfer of prisoners to the courts from police cells within the hub would rid the system of police, court and Corrections time arranging transfers and supervising prisoners, as well as enhancing public safety, he said.

The Press