POLICE are taking advantage of their soon-to-be-demolished former headquarters by using it for mock exercises.
Mock crime scenes have been created in the empty city centre offices to give officers practice in attending and recording an incident scene, according to a Chester officer, who did not wish to be named.
He said: 'Part of the building will be changed into a mock-up house. . They put items in there which search teams are expected to find and recover, like drugs and forensic evidence.
'They use this training for almost any crime you can think of so officers can be guided through what to look for when they attend a scene.'
The officer said rooms in the new force headquarters in Winsford could be used for the training after the Chester building is handed over to developers in the next few weeks. It will be demolished in June to make way for a £50m hotel development.
He added: 'I think it's a fantastic idea to use the old building. The police are still paying for all the facilities there so this is a constructive use for them rather than letting it lie dormant. It also means it is more secure.'
The building's new use came to light when a dog handler and his canine companion got stuck in a lift during an exercise last Friday morning.
To free the pair, two teams of fire-fighters had to manually winch the industrial-sized lift, which got stuck between the first and second floors.
They were liberated after 45 minutes in the lift.
Crew manager Paul Harrison said: 'There was a team of five police dog handlers training new animals in some sort of search training.
'They were panicking a bit about how the dog, an Alsatian, would react. The first thing I asked was whether it was getting angry in there.
'Luckily the dog was fine, although the hand-ler was a bit embarrassed when he got out. He said he would be teased about it for the rest of his career.'