New station 'safest place' in city
Christchurch police will mark the end of an era today as they start shifting into a new central station they claim will be "the safest place in Christchurch" in the case of another major earthquake.
About 500 staff will relocate to the single-storey temporary station in St Asaph St over the next six weeks, with most in by Christmas. The cells and custody suite will be in place late next month.
Police abandoned the top floors of the 1970s building on the corner of Cambridge Tce and Hereford St last December. Only the lower four floors have been in use since, with displaced staff working out of temporary buildings in yards at other city stations.
Central area commander Inspector Derek Erasmus said the shift would come as a relief to those who had concerns about working in the high rise, where superficial damage was "an obvious reminder" of the quakes.
Some staff had even refused to go back in the building since the February 22, 2011, quake.
Erasmus said the decision to relocate was made at an emergency meeting called after the major aftershocks of December 23 last year.
An engineer advised some services, such as plumbing and water, may fail in another big quake.
"We basically decided we needed to get out."
Project manager Jonathan Leach said the final cost of the temporary station, built to more than 100 per cent of the building code, was expected to be between $20 million and $25m.
"Probably the police station will be the safest place in Christchurch if there is another big shake."
There has been a police station in Hereford St since 1873.
Ngai Tahu owns the current police building. A Ngai Tahu spokeswoman said no decision had made about its future.