The Prince of Wales joked he was opening a “recycled” police station when he unveiled a plaque to mark the launch of a refurbished building where royalty protection officers are based.
Charles was visiting the station in King’s Lynn a few miles from the Queen’s private Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where the Royal Family gather every Christmas, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s country home of Anmer Hall.
The heir to the throne was given a tour of the 1950s building downsized and modernised in 2017 as part of a £3.1 million project to create up-to-date facilities for civilians and officers policing the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk district.
In a speech to officers and civilians, the prince said he was pleased to “assist at the opening of your new, or maybe so slightly recycled, police station here in King’s Lynn”, and he quipped that with all the work they did a more appropriate name would be “a community problem-solving hub”.
He added: “I think it’s a very good example of new building in old place, if I may say so, providing of course modern, state-of-the-art facilities without compromising everything else.
“I know also at first hand of the marvellous work which you all do, as many of the police officers who look after us when we are at Sandringham come from, of course, this very police station.
“I realise some of the close protection officers here today are part of that Sandringham team.”
Charles met crime scene investigators during his tour and watched as one of them – Sam Powell – dusted for fingerprints around a window.
He also chatted to officers trying to prevent former prison inmates re-offending with help from the Prince’s Trust.
Honoured to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to #KingsLynn this morning for the official opening of the refurbished police station. The Prince met with officers and staff based at the station as well as cadets, special constables and local high school pupils @ClarenceHousepic.twitter.com/wXF7k4NIyX
— Norfolk Police (@NorfolkPolice) November 29, 2018
When he was taken into a new gym that allows officers to work-out on site, or undergo rehabilitation if injured, he pointed at a cross training machine and joked “these are instruments of torture”.
Norfolk Constabulary Chief Constable Simon Bailey said after the visit: “We are, I believe, the only police force in the country, outside the Metropolitan Police Service, that provides royalty protection to the Royal Family on the Sandringham Estate.
“Of course I’m very, very proud of that, I understand the intense responsibility that goes with that and obviously King’s Lynn police station is a base where a lot of officers, who will attend the Christmas court and various other functions at Sandringham over the course of the year, are based during their day-to-day work.”
Speaking about how the refurbished station will benefit his officers, he added: “It just means they have got somewhere that’s fit for purpose, that will support them to go out and deliver the best possible services to our community.
“Ultimately I want my officers to recognise that we are investing in them in terms of their occupational health, in terms of the quality of the work they provide, and that leads to one thing – that leads to good policing for King’s Lynn and the surrounding area.”