Scottish Crime Campus (SCC), Gartcosh


Building owner/client:

Scottish Government

Architect or lead designer:

Gordon Murray, Ryder Architecture and BMJ Architects

Local Authority Area:

North Lanarkshire

Nominating Body:

Gartcosh Community Council

Project Description

This £73m Scottish Government funded unique, state of the art facility enhances collaboration between various law enforcement agencies. Work started on site in 2009 and migration into the completed facility by March 2014. A principal objective was facilitating inter agency working, colocating all in one purpose built facility. The building centres around a multi layered atrium, while communal parts are located to encourage exchange of information. The IT network permits ‘plug and play’ where the office fit out and IT support can be adapted, as with laboratories to suit collaborations among groups on specific projects. The campus is located at Gartcosh Business Interchange (over 170,000 sqm of business space) a former steel works area now a key regeneration area under redevelopment. More than £20m has been invested in land reclamation, transport links and other development. The campus is significant in the context of a wider exploration of architectural quality for government buildings, set out in the Government’s Architecture Policy. Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service occupy the Campus together with Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services albeit this number has been bolstered by a number of strategic embeds (now 18 organisations in total). The brief for the building was very complex in terms of adjacencies, security levels and non-contamination of evidence, but aimed to encourage common purpose and collaboration to: 1. improve efficiency and effectiveness of the partners in combating crime 2. foster proactive cooperation and collaboration between agencies 3. provide expert forensic scientific support to local and national partners The strong design ethos was established based on technologies used in crime detection, with DNA and chromosome biology being major themes. The design aims to minimise environmental impact. The building’s function of identity and identification is complimented by the façade and building concept utilising visual references associated with DNA and abstracts them to give the building itself, as well as the working environment, a clearly recognisable identity. This theme is repeated through the landscape design, façades and finishes within the atrium and throughout the building. Design consideration was made for the provision of local, accessible heating and lighting controls for building users. Overall lighting levels are managed through daylight sensors and presence / absence detectors, keeping energy wastage to a minimum. The building achieves an Energy Performance certificate rating of B + which out performs the benchmark for a similar newly built building. CO² associated with the running of the building is reduced by 40% compared to a normal Building Regulations compliant development. Landscaped areas consist of flower beds, shrubbery, trees and grassland. The landscape architect worked with an ecologist to ensure the species planted were in keeping with the habitat surrounding the site to improve biodiversity and optimise management and maintenance. Adaptability and multi-functionality underpin the design, while the arrangement around the multi layered atrium facilitates interaction with communal areas provided (including a canteen and gymnasium) to encourage assemble and information exchange.

Supporting Statement

The Scottish Crime Campus building was completed and occupied from early 2014 and is a core aspect of the national strategy to tackle Serious Organised Crime. It provides a modern, purpose built and architectural award winning accommodation for Police Scotland and other partner agencies (Crown Office, Procurator Fiscal Service, the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue & Customs) to facilitate closer working in the fight against serious and organised crime across Scotland, the UK and indeed globally. Not only has the location of the building within Gartcosh fostered a genuine interest in our area and is now widely recognised as a significant landmark it is also representative of the commitment to address serious crime across Scotland, the UK and globally. Something which our community is very proud of, and to be associated with. At the heart of the SCC is the ethos of equality and inclusivity; it is recognised that the strength of the operational aspects of the SCC are the colocation and collaborative efforts of all of the partners agencies. The diversity of powers of the collective are having an impact internationally and the site is viewed as one of excellence and it is being emulated at a number of sites in England. Gartcosh Community Council also considers the Crime Campus building as a critical contributor to Gartcosh's profile and locale. A building of architectural recognition, it provides a contrast to a semi-rural backdrop which had been otherwise unremarkable and we know has inspired some of our younger population to undertake further education and seek a career in a forensic and criminal science based arena. Although the Crime Campus has been operational since 2014 it is really since 'bedding down' within our community from 2015 until the present day that relationships with the community council and the wider community have blossomed and indeed focused on delivering mutual benefits. An example of this is where many residents perceived the campus with a sense of awe but detached from its surroundings due to the heightened security and its function. The Community Council have been meeting with crime campus representatives every few months and our rapport and 'working' relationships has been framed wonderfully by those representatives, particularly Zoe White, Central Services Manager along with a full commitment to achieving that ethos by the ongoing professional support and input of Inspector Philip Rose. Open communication, addressing potentially sensitive concerns and an eagerness to develop as an established community asset have been at the forefront of our experience of the Crime Campus which in turn has led to a sense of empowerment of our local community. The perception was that heightened security procedures and approach would detract from a welcoming and open dialogue but indeed the approach within the Campus is one of full understanding of this potential impact and accommodating those concerns in a most professional and unassuming manner. We look forward to an ever evolving and productive collaboration with Gartcosh Crime Campus to continue to realise our local and wider community benefits.