Royal visit to Harrogate Police Centre

tis  His Royal Highness The Duke of York arrives for the reopening of the Police Treatment Centre, St Andrews.  (130522M3f)
tis His Royal Highness The Duke of York arrives for the reopening of the Police Treatment Centre, St Andrews. (130522M3f)

The Duke of York visited Harrogate on Wednesday to open the St Andrew’s Police Treatment Centre after a £3million refurbishment.

Prince Andrew opened the Duke of York Wing which includes a new physiotherapy department and rehab gym, as the patron for The Police Treatment Centres.

He was formally introduced to Michael Baxter chief executive of the the Police Treatment Centres.

Nurse Helen Birks who spoke to Prince Andrew about her work relating to stress and depression at the centre said: “It’s nice for him to see what we actually do here first hand as he is a patron of ours.”

PC Jenna Birbeck, who is currently receiving treatment at the centre after she was assaulted on duty said: “I wasn’t nervous about meeting him until he started speaking to me.

“I hadn’t planned what I was going to say but he asked lots of questions and seemed nice and chatty.”

Prince Andrew was particularly keen to meet North Yorkshire Police Officer PC Steve Beckwith who was injured in a motorcycle accident when acting as the Duke of York’s escort in York in December.

“It was nice to actually meet him,” Mr Beckwith said, “You don’t usually meet the person who are looking after when you are part of the escort team.

“He asked after me when I was in hospital and sent a bunch of flowers to my wife the same day of the crash which was much appreciated.”

Mr Beckwith used the facility in March and said that the treatment he received was invaluable to his recovery.

“On the NHS I only got one appointment every fortnight, here I got treatment everyday, which helped me recover quickly.”

Prince Andrew has been a patron for The Police Treatment Centres since 1985 and in his speech to gathered dignitaries praised the Harrogate treatment centre.

“This place has been called the best kept secret in the police force.We have to ensure that everyone in the police knows it’s here for them to help people get back to their communities and get back to their friends and families.”

The Duke was then presented with a miniature police hat by Ian Poultney, the chairman of trustees.

Mr Poultney said: “I met the Prince last year at Buckingham Palace.

“At the time we told him about our ambition refurbishment plans and he told me he would come to open it.Now here he is, good as his word.”

The refurbishment was funded by a £1.3m grant from the Home Office, £250,000 from the Police Dependants’ Trust and public donations.

Harrogate’s new Mayor Michael Newby attended the royal opening as one of his first duties. He said: “It’s a great opportunity to come here and look around and see the work that’s done here.”