A new vital emergency services training hub has opened at St James Business Centre in Warrington.
The move follows on the heels of a £2.9m Warrington Town Deal award for the establishment of a new Digital Enterprise Hub at St James Business Centre, managed by Langtree under its Wire Regeneration joint venture with Warrington Borough Council.
The Digital Suite allows the University of Chester to operate state of the art technology from the renowned Hydra Foundation that trains up to 24 police officers at a time in how to manage critical incidents such as hostage situations, murder investigations and missing persons cases. Officers will be drawn from forces around the north west.
The University of Chester has entered into a five-year lease commitment on a 499 square foot office for the staff who manage the programme and an operating licence on the 2,500 square foot hi-tech suite. The team is relocating from the university’s Padgate campus.
Geoff Elvey, Head of the Institute of Policing at the University, said: “The Hydra Simulation Suite is a fantastic critical incident management tool, to further develop decision making skills of University of Chester students and embeds the University ambition of creating citizen students to protect the public of Cheshire and beyond.
“Hydra creates immersive simulations that provide students with an opportunity to consolidate learning, by the use of effective decision making whilst managing different multi agency types of critical incidents as they unfold in a safe learning environment.
“The training invokes the tension and decision-making requirements of leading and managing serious incidents and allows delegates to put their skills and new approaches to critical situations to work. It’s a highly effective methodology and similar suites are in use across the globe.”
The Digital Suite will be the eighty-fifth in a worldwide network that utilises Hydra’s unique combination of hardware and software. To date, more than 850,000 decisions relating to different emergency situations have been logged by delegates whilst under training in a Hydra centre.
Commenting on the letting, Jayne Furnival, group property director for Langtree, said:
“We’re immensely proud to be hosting something so important to our community. The brief was to find a property that combined ease of access, parking, flexible internal space, room to break-out and on-site catering and St James fitted the bill perfectly. Our on-site security and pass-access systems were also vital decision factors and we’re now looking forward to welcoming delegates to the building.”
Fit-out of the suites, which include training rooms, break-out space, plenary rooms and a hi-tech critical situation suite is complete and the centre is now open. Staff from other emergency services and the private sector will be able to utilise the service on request.
“These suites are unique to the region and will bring a whole new range of potential tenants to St James,” said Jayne Furnival. “The deal, coming so soon after the Digital Enterprise Hub award, reinforces its place as one of the most important tech hubs in the area.”
Commenting on the Town Deal-funded facility, Cllr Tom Jennings, Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development and innovation, said: “Warrington’s Town Deal continues to make excellent progress. The Hydra Suite as part of the digital enterprise hub project will be an important facility for the region, and follows the successful completion of two other pioneering Town Deal projects in our Health and Social Care Academy and bus fleet depot.”