Surrey Police will stay in its Guildford headquarters following an independent review.
The force will sell off the former Electrical Research Association and Cobham Industries site in Leatherhead which was bought in March 2019 to be developed as a replacement for several police sites, including the Mount Browne headquarters in Guildford.
Other options included looking for alternative sites in Surrey or redeveloping the current site to make it more suitable for the needs of the force.
The suitability of the site at Leatherhead had previously been questioned, because its location in a residential area meant the anonymity of under-cover officers might be compromised and it would not be suitable for keeping dogs because of the noise they make.
In June this year, plans for the Leatherhead site were put on hold while an independent review was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting. It looked specifically at the financial implications of the project.
Work on the site will be done in phases, and will include a new joint contact centre and force control room, a better location on the site for the Surrey Police Dog School, a new forensic hub and improved facilities for training and accommodation.
Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend said the new headquarters was probably the biggest single investment the force would ever make and it was “vital” to get it right.
She said the most important factor for her was providing value for money and an even better police service for residents.
She said: “Our officers and staff deserve the very best support and working environment we can provide for them and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make sure we are making a sound investment for their future.”
Chief Constable Stephens said: “Although Leatherhead offered us a new alternative to our headquarters, both in design and location, it had become clear that it was becoming increasingly harder to achieve our long-term dreams and ambitions.
“The pandemic has presented new opportunities to re-think how we can use our Mount Browne site and retain an estate that has been a part of Surrey Police’s history for more than 70 years.
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“This announcement is an exciting opportunity for us to shape and design the look and feel of the Force for future generations.”
Mrs Townsend said she understood why the decision was taken in 2019 to relocate to Leatherhead but that the pandemic had shifted working patterns significantly.
She said she believed the staying at Mount Browne was the right option both for the force and for the public, and she also agreed with Chief Constable Gavin Stephens that making no changes was not an option for the force.
She added: “This is an exciting time for Surrey Police and my office will be working closely with the force and the project team going forward to make sure we deliver a new headquarters we can all be proud of.”