Demolition work is underway at Cessnock Police Station, where construction of a new station will begin early in the new year.
Machinery arrived on site last Monday, and the former detectives' office (on the corner of Maitland Road and Millfield Street) has since been demolished to make way for a demountable building.
Work on the main building - including the front counter and interview rooms - will start the week of December 9, with a custody pod and directional signage to be installed on site.
Cessnock Police Station officer-in-charge, Chief Inspector Michael Gorman said it's important for the community to know that the station will be fully operational throughout the new build.
"The phone numbers are the same, and it will be staffed 24/7," he said.
"It's business as usual."
Chief Inspector Gorman said the demolition marked an exciting milestone for the $13.5 million project, which was announced in June last year as part of the NSW Government's 2018-19 budget.
"It's becoming real - it's the first step towards a state-of-the-art, two-storey police station," he said.
The new station will front Cumberland Street, and will allow space for Hunter Valley Police District detectives (who are currently stationed at Kurri Kurri), the District Superintendent, Highway Patrol and Corrective Services officers to all work under one roof - with room for expansion.
Chief Inspector Gorman said the demolition work is expected to be finished by January, with construction work on the new building to get underway soon after that.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said he was thrilled to see the work has started.
"When I was first elected to represent our community, in 2011, it was local police that alerted me to the need to build a new station if we ever wanted to be able to house extra police officers," Mr Barr said.
"As our population has grown, and as our prison population has grown, it has become more important than ever to have additional police officers available to answer the calls of the community every day.
"The bricks and mortar of a new police station will not, in itself, make our community safer. But what it will allow for is a growing police force and as we know, every police vehicle is in many ways a mobile police station, with the wonders of modern technologies."
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