THIS is how a massive police HQ could look when it opens in 2014.

Work has begun on a site at Express Park in Bridgwater which will house 550 police staff plus a 36-cell custody unit, crime investigation centre, enquiry office, specialist operations including firearms and dog handling.

It will serve the whole of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

The changes will mean Bridgwater police station in Northgate will close, although another neighbourhood office will open elsewhere in the town centre.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: “After three years Avon and Somerset Police has crossed the final hurdle in its ambitious accommodation programme which has been scrutinised and endorsed by HM Treasury and the Home Office on a number of occasions.

“This will provide us with more cells, better welfare for people who are detained and improved facilities for victims and witnesses.

“It replaces custody cells which are old, some even Victorian, and difficult to maintain.”

The project is being run by the Blue Light Partnership, a joint venture between Bilfinger Berger Project Investments and the main contractor, Miller Construction.

Construction began on October 1 after site clearing work was completed.

Between now and Christmas, more foundation work will be carried out.

The Blue Light Partnership said: “During these works, there will be increased traffic movement and some increase in background noise.

“We have employed a full-time security person and we will regularly inspect surrounding roads to keep them clean and tidy.

“We are looking forward to working in Bridgwater with the police and local businesses on this exciting project.”