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Suffolk: PCC Tim Passmore stops merged control room in its tracks

19:26 30 April 2014

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore

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Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore today refused to let Suffolk’s police control room be relocated and merged with Norfolk.

In one fell swoop he destroyed the plan for a centralised 999 centre for the two counties for the foresseable future.

Mr Passmore announced his decision at a meeting of the Norfolk and Suffolk Collaboration Panel at Norfolk police headquarters in Wymondham.

His Norfolk counterpart Stephen Bett had been keen for the proposal to go ahead in order to save the cash-strapped constabularies £1.84million a year.

Mr Passmore told the meeting: “I’m extremely concerned about the level of risk (of merging the control rooms).

“It’s the biggest decision I’m going to have to make in my life. Merging a control room is a very, very big and perhaps a final step.

“I also accept the financial challenge we face in Suffolk and Norfolk is unprecedented.

“But I do think there are opportunities if we look at policing and wider areas of work.

“We have to make sure that we do everything we can to make the police force effective as well as efficient.

“While the business case stacks up I do have these huge concerns over risk and timing.

I’m not going to agree to do this because I think, with what we have heard today, I cannot sign on the line to move the control room up to Norfolk.”

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere was one of the leading opponents of the proposal to move the 999 control to Wymondham.

After Mr Passmore scuppered the plan Mr Ellesmere said: “I think it’s very good news for Suffolk. We have had huge concerns about this proposal since it was announced and it’s clear the vast majority of people in Suffolk have as well.”

He added that Mr Passmore has held a series of meetings with leaders and chief executives of councils in Suffolk to consult them ahead of his decision.

Mr Ellesmere added: “I’m glad that we have helped in playing our small part.”

Following Mr Passmore’s decision Norfolk Constabulary now sees itself faced with finding savings of another £1m.

The force’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey told the meeting this was equivalent to 20 police officers or 25 PCSOs, but made it clear he was using these numbers as an illustration of how much needed to be saved rather than saying they would be lost.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett said: “Obviously it’s disappointing. We are going to have to make the cuts in our plan B which are going to cause a lot of angst for the public in Norfolk but we will try to protect front line policing as much as possible.

Asked if he was surprised Mr Passmore had decided against merging control rooms Mr bett added: “I expected it after all the rhetoric that we have seen in the press on the Suffolk side.

“I would have been very surprised if he had gone with it (the plan).”

22 comments

  • it is not over yet.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • I was not a fan of the idea of elected PCC's; viewing it as yet another layer of expensive bureaucracy. However, I must admit that I have been very encouraged by Tim Passmore's personal performance, and the fact that democracy (people power) does seem to have some influence on his outlook. Every department, or job, or control transferred over the border to Norfolk, Essex or Cambridgeshire is lost forever. So, if cost savings must be made, then let's at least do it in a manner which retains Suffolk's accountability and control over its assets. Well done Mr Passmore.

    Report this comment

    Mark Ling

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • No warranted police officers can't strike. I suspect you are thinking of civilian staff. Back in the 70's you had a good number of experienced police officers in the control room, who had knowledge of the ne'er do wells and and had walked the beat and new Ipswich like the back of their hand. Could dispatch officers in an instant, without an army of questions to tick. Those were the days.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Ipswich Entrepreneur- where do you get the idea Police Officers can go on strike? It is one of the few jobs that cannot go on strike. Of course, civilian staff (who make up the majority of the control room staff) could legally go on strike.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • Excellent news for Suffolk. Well done to Tim for putting this county first.

    Report this comment

    Jim P

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • From the outset the signals from Mr Passmore were that this was a dead duck. When you have the Chief Constable of Suffolk recommending the proposal for merger it brings into question the future working relations that he may have with the PCC Accepting that this saves the jobs of those who work in the Control Room the assumption is that jobs will be lost elsewhere to deliver the savings required It’s interesting when the Borough questions the proposal to merge the Control Room – Suffolk isn’t Ipswich centric. Would the residents of Waveney or Forest Heath have any concerns merging the Control with Norfolk? I suspect not as they most likely have a greater affinity with those just across the border than Ipswich Well let’s wait and see what rabbit is pulled from the hat to find the savings – if jobs are at stake or communities upset (as long as the Borough are okay!!!) how will Mr Passmore justify the decision to those persons?

    Report this comment

    R.U Kidding

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Ipswich Entrepreneur your comments are inaccurate and slightly embarrassing. This move by Tim Passmore is purely political. He makes no mention of all the other job losses he is happy to sign off.

    Report this comment

    commonsense

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • and waspie's wife..Well done Mr. Passmore. A victory for common sense. What a refreshing change.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • "Following Mr Passmore’s decision Norfolk Constabulary now sees itself faced with finding savings of another £1m. The force’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey told the meeting this was equivalent to 20 police officers or 25 PCSOs," So a beat bobby earns £50k a year and a half-cop, aka a PCSO earns £40k a year. Where can I find an application form? As I am a white English male will I be acceptable in the modern "diversity rich" police service?

    Report this comment

    Steve Blake

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Congratulations to Mr Passmore at last a politician that listen to the public and acts accordingly. No Police amalgamation of any form has ever saved the public money and any arrangement with Norfolk Police has always been to the benefit of Norfolk and costly for Suffolk. In football terms Norfolk has never been out bof the third division were as until 2006 Suffolk was always in the premier league. Perhaps now theSuffolk force will return to that league.

    Report this comment

    David T Fisk

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • This will come to haunt him. It may have been the biggest decision of his life so far, but now having made it a far bigger one will rapidly come round the corner. He will soon have to tell the people of Suffolk how many police officers he has to lose as a result - where are the concerns then?

    Report this comment

    Johno

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Clever bloke. He has secured his chance of re-election. If they want to save much more money, abolish the police! That sounds completely foolish, and for the reason why that would be foolish, is the reasons why there should be no reduction in services to make cost savings. If I was in charge, I could save millions simply by reducing the cost of overpaid coppers... but police can strike now apparently so everyone would walk out with their unions. Police do a really decent job but its not for the taxpayers to pay them handsomely in return.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • John W- my understanding is that the other services are currently locked into contracts for their shared control rooms. By this decision, it holds back the total whitewash of outsourcing the emergency control rooms. It gives a chance to look at the longer term possibility of having them all together as you prefer. However, I fear there is more chance of a regional then a national police force.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • A toothless decision which will cost millions. Tim Passmore has passed the buck, and succumbed to the pressure from unions and those lost in the past. The real show of backbone would have been to press for the merging of all East Anglian emergency services to be in one place. The Luddites have won this round.

    Report this comment

    John W

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Well done Mr Passmore, you had the b**lls to say NO. I am sure staff in the force can offer you some ways of savings money, they of course know where money and time is wasted. Start by being Police officers not social workers.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Well done Mr Passmore, you listened to what the people of Suffolk were saying and acted accordingly, saving the publics front line of contact.

    Report this comment

    True blue

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Presumably the preferred contractor doesn't pay money to the Tory Party?

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Sounds like the beginning of the end of the two force collaboration then

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    commonsense

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Another parochial decison that will lead to tax payers paying more to maintain archaic county vested interests.

    Report this comment

    Peter Wyburn

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Credit where Credit is due, a man with a back bone, now lets get some Norfolk Jobs down here. A pitty our Fire Chief, Ambulance Chief and NHS Managers don't have the same, although quite telling none of them have to face an election maybe PCC's not a bad idea and maybe more faceless bueaucrats should face the ballot box instead of selling Suffolk out without us having a say.

    Report this comment

    The Ginge

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Well Done Tim

    Report this comment

    Anthony Green

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • we all know where this is going.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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