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Suffolk: Muted response to police boss’s single blue-light control scheme

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 April 2014

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Archant

A concept by Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner for a centralised ‘blue-light’ control room based in the county has been met with a muted response.

Tim Passmore has floated the idea of a single site for the despatching of fire, police and ambulance services.

Currently the ambulance control centre is based in Hellesdon, Norfolk, while the fire service’s 999 centre is located in Cambridgeshire.

Mr Passmore has said he is keen to look at any alternatives to relocating Suffolk Constabulary’s command and control room to Norfolk as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

However, in response to the possibility of there being a Suffolk-based emergency service control centre in the future, a spokeswoman for the ambulance service said: “The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust already has very good control room arrangements in place that serve local communities well.

“Our staff work very hard to provide high quality services and advice to callers whilst an ambulance is on its way.

“The work of ambulance control staff is closely connected to many parts of the wider NHS, such as acute hospitals, and we are not part of any discussions about a single joint emergency control room in Suffolk.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, in relation to the county’s fire service, said: “Our agreement with Cambridgeshire for the delivery of control services has a five-year term. The agreement has been in operation for just over three years and therefore has two remaining.

“However, the arrangements can be extended further, where desired. The current arrangements are operating successfully.”

Speaking at a meeting with Babergh residents at East Bergholt High School last Wednesday, Mr Passmore said: “I do think one of the alternatives I should be looking at is in two or three years if we don’t go ahead with the control room (merger) what about the linking of the blue lights services – ambulance, police, fire and coastguard – here in Suffolk?”

Douglas Paxton and Simon Bailey, chief constables of Suffolk and Norfolk respectively have put forward the business case for a combined control room, probably based in Wymondham. They estimate this would save £1.84million a year.

Due to their Government grants continually being slashed, Suffolk and Norfolk police need to find combined savings of £36.7m by March 2018. Suffolk’s shortfall is said to be £16.4m.

The law firm representing former pupils of the disgraced Oakwood School in Stowmarket say their clients have received more than £2million in compensation from Suffolk County Council.

The founder of a charity that supports sexually abused children in Suffolk has given an insight into what it’s like working in this harrowing field as the organisation marks its fifth birthday.

Family and friends have raised a glass for Muriel ‘Midge’ Barker – who celebrates her 106th birthday on Friday

Parents have been urged to read more often to their children after research found almost half feel they do not set a good example at home across East Anglia.

A woman and three teenagers have appeared in court charged with Class A drugs offences in Ipswich.

A new housing plan set up to oversee the building of just under 10,000 new homes in Ipswich by 2031 sparked a heated debate at a full council meeting tonight as several councillors had their say.

Concerned members of the public phoned police today reporting that a fight had broken out between a large group of children.

Bosses of a Felixstowe care home have lauded their staff for snapping quickly into action and heeding advice from the health watchdog after it was told it must make urgent improvements.

A proud daughter is preparing to run the inaugural Great East Run in Suffolk this weekend to raise money for a cause close to her heart.

A Suffolk father whose flight was cancelled by Ryanair at just a week’s notice because the company messed up its pilots’ rota has had to fork out hundreds of pounds so he can still take his son to see their favourite football team play.

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