Utilising money seized from criminals in the county.
The artwork has been created by artist Andrew Small who was chosen to deliver the project by Blackpool arts organisation LeftCoast, local community group Mereside and Friends in Action, Lancashire Constabulary, and lead building contractor Willmott Dixon. The project was commissioned by Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner utilising money seized from criminals in the county.
Entitled ‘We are all human’, the piece of art represents the Mereside Windmill, a local landmark, and was inspired by local community groups as well as local police officers who will be working out of the new building which will serve as a headquarters for the county’s West Division, covering Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Morecambe.
The blades of the artwork rotate at different speeds to indicate the number of calls typically received by the police in West Division, giving an insight into the demand that is being dealt with by officers and staff within the building.
Mr Grunshaw said: “Throughout the build process we have maximised opportunities for local businesses and to create local jobs but I also wanted to make sure that the people who live in the area have a chance to make their mark on this project.
“It has been great to see first-hand how Andrew has worked with the local community and officers to get inspiration for the piece of art and I am really pleased with the result.
“The artwork gives people an insight into the inner workings of the new headquarters and the demand that officers typically deal with in the area.
“The money used for this project has been seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and it’s fantastic to see the resulting piece of art which will serve as a permanent reminder of local people and the police working together and to reflect the communities our officers serve on a daily basis.”
Artist Andrew Small added: “I would like to thank the Mereside community and the Police for placing their trust in me based on previous work, and letting the ideas evolve through a creative process.
“It has been a privilege to witness such generosity of spirit that members of the community have shown by their actions, dedication and giving of personal time.
I would also like to thank the police for their open minded engagement in the process.
“The conversations and reflections around a comment from the community ‘We are all human, we all make mistakes’, were a particularly resonant aspect of this project for me and gave us the title for the piece, “We are all human”.
Sarah Threlfall from community group Mereside and Friends in Action said: “This project has given the people of Mereside the opportunity to become involved with helping to shape what the artwork has become.
“Our thoughts, values, ideas and opinions have been listened to, and taken on board. We have helped to make a piece of history in this new modern building, bringing together all those people who work, use or live within the area.
“When the people from Mereside pass the artwork, they will be proud to have been involved with it, and as a community it makes us feel people respect us for who we are and what we offer as a community.
“The Mereside And Friends In Action group feel very honoured in being asked to help with this project and are very pleased with the finished item.”
Tina Redford, Director at LeftCoast said: “LeftCoast is all about people choosing, creating and taking part in brilliant art experiences where they live. This project is no exception. This was a genuine co-commission bringing the community and the police on the commissioning journey with us and choosing an innovative artist that was perfect for this project.”
Inspector Chris Hardy from Lancashire Constabulary agreed: “This artwork helps to bring the community and the police together. It acts as a reminder to our officers and staff of the community they serve and seek to keep safe 24/7.
“It also gives an insight into the demand we are dealing with and I hope this will help to strengthen relationships within the community.”