Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green):
The government has decided to opt in to the member state initiative for a regulation of the European Parliament and of CEPOL from Bramshill (UK) to Budapest (Hungary) (European Union Document Nos. 2013/0812 (COD), ENFOPOL 395 CODEC 2773 PARLNAT 307).
The current CEPOL council decision states that the headquarters of CEPOL shall be in Bramshill. The draft regulation replaces the part of the CEPOL Council Decision that specifies Bramshill, with a statement that the seat shall be in Budapest. The Bramshill site is owned by the Home Office, and is also currently used by the College of Policing. The site costs the Home Office £5m per annum to run, and is not economically viable. The Home Secretary therefore decided in December 2012 that Bramshill should be sold. It was placed on the market in the summer with a listing price of £20 to 25 million, and we are on schedule to complete the sale by March 2015. The sale of Bramshill means that we will be unable to continue housing CEPOL there.
The publication of the draft regulation is an important step towards ensuring that CEPOL vacates the Bramshill site in good time for any sale. Buyers would expect vacant possession, so in the context of securing the sale it is very much in UK interests to support the proposal. CEPOL have been guaranteed occupation of the site until September 2014, as the new site in Budapest will not be ready to house CEPOL until the end of August 2014.
We are keen to cooperate fully in the process of moving CEPOL from Bramshill to its new location. To give CEPOL staff some much needed assurance this process needs to be completed quickly. The regulation has been helpfully progressed in the EU to accommodate our objectives in moving CEPOL from Bramshill.