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Suffolk: Police and Crime chief’s call for one control room for all the county’s emergency services

09:15 10 April 2014

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Archant

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has outlined a vision for all its emergency services to have a central control room based in the county.

Speaking at a meeting with Babergh residents at East Bergholt High School last night, Tim Passmore stopped short of saying he would refuse to let Suffolk Constabulary’s 999 centre be merged and relocated to Norfolk.

However, he gave his clearest sign yet of his unease over sanctioning the move.

Mr Passmore said: “This is going to be just about the biggest decision I have had to make in my life.”

After stressing every alternative needed to be explored before a final decision is made, Mr Passmore told the audience he has spoken to the Home Office, which had been supportive of his concept for a central 999 centre in Suffolk for ‘blue light’ services.

He 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.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner also said he would not rule out increasing the council tax precept in future if it meant the county being able to keep its own police control room.

He added: “This is something we have got to get right. There won’t be a second chance.”

In February, Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies confirmed a proposal was on the table for a merged police control room.

The business case put forward by the counties’ respective chief constables Douglas Paxton and Simon Bailey stated it would be based in Norfolk, possibly at the current headquarters at Wymondham.

If the proposal was given the go-ahead by Mr Passmore and Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett, it was anticipated it would bring about savings of £1.84million a year. Mr Bett has made it clear he is in favour of the idea.

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.

A raft of cost-saving measures have been put in place, in addition to those which have already occurred.

Deeper collaboration between both forces has been planned to offset some of the savings needed.

Some of that relates to the possibility of other civilian jobs such as human resources, IT, estates and procurement, moving to Suffolk from Norfolk while the control room moves in the other direction.

7 comments

  • I don't know if anyone has thought about this one - but it is not called Suffolk Ambulance Service, but East of England, so that's not going to work is it. Time to spend another £350k of our money & have another rethink. Don't worry though Mr Passmore as you have already pointed out, you'll just pass the expense onto the local tax payers to bail you out!!

    Report this comment

    Concerned of Suffolk

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • Victor I don't care where it is it could well be in Cambridge and amalgamate the Cambridge lot and save some more money. It seems the only thing that you are disagreeing with me is the fact that you do not want a control room in Norfolk . Myself I am not hung up on Norfolk, it would make no difference at all. KBO

    Report this comment

    easylec

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • This is old news. Tim Passmore has been punting out calls for a 'single blue light' service, headed up by himself, one presumes, since soon after his election to the post. Clearly flushed with his success as Police and Crime Comissioner, he now feels ready to take on Fire and Ambulance services. The call centre debate is just a convenient hook for his plans. If you look at his notification of 'Registrable interests' submitted when he took on the PCC role, you will see that he is a nominated director of Customer Service Direct (CSD - the call centre 'serving Suffolk County Council'. Conicidence? He's got more than a passing interest in call centres. Makes it hard to believe that his interests are broader than business, but then we can't moan - we elected him.

    Report this comment

    greenflower

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • John W - stop phaffing about. Do you support the Police control going to Norfolk or a sensible one of having all the emergency services in the County under one roof- in Suffolk? In the event of "an emergency" having them all together surely makes sense in that they can do face to face planning and deployment, there and then. Not by telephone conferencing from different venues. Pity that massive and unused fire control building in Cambridgeshire was not built in Suffolk - now that could have come in handy.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • It's a no brainier really, the savings alone should be reason enough to centralise all this doubling up of jobs. Tim pass more either knows in his own mind what he would prefer or is to weak to make a decision, stop phaffing around Tim and do the job you were elected for and take it on the chin.All 999 and 111 services should be in the same building it's obvious. All this rubbish about local knowledge is the only olive leaf the unions have. If an applicant for a job has moved from Yorkshire does that mean they would be turned down for work in a control room on that basis alone? I think not.

    Report this comment

    John W

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • The real issue is deciding if there really is a need for all the local emergency services or if it is time to merge them into regional or national services. That is where the savings and service improvements will come from and the organisational changes should flow from that.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • greenflower

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

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