In this section

 Refurbished Sherburn Road Police Station officially opened


FOND memories and new beginnings were marked as a refurbished police station was officially opened this morning.
Past and present officers from Durham Constabulary, local dignitaries and members of the community flocked to Sherburn Road Police Station, in Durham, to see the community-based facility opened after a seven-month refurbishment.
The official opening was conducted by Durham Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mike Barton and the Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner, Ron Hogg, but all eyes were on police volunteer Barry Cairns, who planted a special rose bush to mark the occasion.
Mr Cairns, who has Downs Syndrome, also uses the services of Ethicare Durham Ltd, a person-centred provision offering vital day care and supported living services to adults with a learning disability.
He was one of several Ethicare service users have been transforming the station’s garden for more than three years in partnership with the force and the whole team were proud to show off their work at the celebration.
The building was built in 1948 and for decades was used to house local police officers.
The last two officers to live in the building, constables Eric Burdis and John Cuthbertson, shared their fond memories of their time there with visitors today.
Mr Burdis, who lived there with his family from 1973 until his retirement in 1996, described the new facility as “fantastic” and said he was particularly impressed by the garden.
Mr Cuthbertson, who resided in the building from 1967 until his retirement in 1997, said he also had many fond memories of living there with his wife Margaret and raising their two daughters.
“The transformation is unbelievable,” he said.
Two new rooms have now been named in their honour.
The building was converted into a police station in the 1990s but lacked many of the modern facilities needed for 21st Century policing.
Now the two separate homes have been converted into one multi-use building, fully equipped with offices, dedicated interview rooms, a café and kitchen.
A new community initiative has been launched from a spare space to give young people their own pedal bike and teach them about road safety and maintenance.
Station sergeant Kevin Hall, said a team of 11 officers currently use the building with space for up to 15 more.
He said: “It’s made a huge difference and it’s great to be in the heart of the community.
“When the plans were first announced there was trepidation from the community that we were leaving but it’s been great to alieve those fears and be back on the door step.”
Sgt Hall also thanked the members of Ethicare for their hard work and said his team were already planning community events to welcome residents in.
Mr Hogg said the building had had a great reaction from the public, especially those officers who used to live there.
“The main thing is that we are still in the heart of the community and that’s what we want,” he said.
Mr Barton added: “Police forces are selling off buildings like this and I just think it’s short-sighted because people who live in this part of Durham really value this – they consider it one of their assets so to transform it from two old police houses to this connected police facility is fantastic.
“We are future-proofing policing by re-using the building.”