“It's an embarrassment.”

Those are the words of the chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, after the Daily Echo revealed widespread failures in pipe work at the force's Southampton headquarters.

John Apter has hit out at contractors Kier, who have admitted full responsibility for the problems.

But Mr Apter called on the Southampton-based firm to cover all the costs involved in the repair work, which could see offices and staff being temporarily relocated.

As reported in Saturday's Daily Echo, the city's £30m police station has been riddled with leaking pipes that will force major reconstruction work at the Southern Road site.

Maintenance staff have been dealing with the problems for months, which have affected the plush custody suite and put lifts out of action due to flooding in the shafts.

Speaking on behalf of the county's police federation, which represents uniformed officers, Mr Apter said: “It's a bit of an embarrassment. But it's not our embarrassment. It's been forced upon us by the failings of Kier.

“For our newest and most modern building to be faced with such a problem is highly disappointing and despite the reassurances, I fear the disruption to offices and staff will be considerable.

“It's good to hear the PCC is taking the matter seriously and has refused to rule out legal action. The Police Federation support this position.

“Kier must not only cover the cost of the repairs, but also cover all the costs of relocating the custody block and the offices and staff.”