Suffolk: Job losses if control room merger is axed, warns police chief

Independent Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Constabulary Stephen Bett . Photo: Steve Adams Independent Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Constabulary Stephen Bett . Photo: Steve Adams

Friday, March 14, 2014
10:58 AM

Failing to merge Suffolk and Norfolk’s police control rooms would have dire consequences, according to Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

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Failing to merge Suffolk and Norfolk’s police control rooms would have dire consequences, according to Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Stephen Bett favours the controversial proposal and outlined a potential doomsday scenario for both forces if a merger did not go ahead.

However, there has been strong opposition from Unison, former police officers and the public to relocating the Martlesham headquarters 999 command base to Wymondham or elsewhere in Norfolk.

We are among those who believe it would endanger the safety of the people of Suffolk, and have laucnhed a campaign to Keep Suffolk’s Policing Local.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has also said he remains to be convinced of the business case put forward by his Chief Constable Douglas Paxton and his Norfolk counterpart Simon Bailey.

The constabularies have previously said a merger would save £1.84million per year. According to Mr Bett it would prevent a drop in the numbers of frontline policing in both counties.

At a public meeting in King’s Lynn yesterday Mr Bailey warned up to 40 police officer posts or 70 police community support officer posts might be lost in Norfolk if the control room merger failed to go ahead.

Mr Bailey said: “The recommendations to create a single control room and a single-site shared services partnership will realise savings of at least £2m a year for Norfolk.

“If this is not agreed, I will have to look to take the equivalent of 40 police officers or 70 PCSO posts out of my community policing teams. The choice really is that stark.”

Mr Bailey said the idea of single-site control rooms was not new and believed advances in technology would “mitigate” any concerns about perceived lack of local knowledge.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Bett said he “wholeheartedly” supported the proposals, describing the alternative as “devastating”.

He said: “In a nutshell, if Suffolk and Norfolk don’t do this then I’m afraid both Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies are going to suffer dire consequences.”

A business case for the proposals will be re-presented to both PCCs on April 30 after they asked that more work be carried out.

A merged control room would see the loss of around 70 jobs as part of the need for combined savings of £36.7m of savings between both forces by March 2018 – £20.3m for Norfolk police and £16.4m for Suffolk.

The cuts follow the Home Office announcement about the second Comprehensive Spending Review in December 2013.

22 comments

  • How on earth have we reached the position where a Norfolk Crime Commissioner is making decisions for Suffolk Police ? talk about 'Empire Building' ?

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    freedomf

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • This man is all about what's best for Norfolk. We live in Suffolk and need to do what's right for us, regardless of the impact it would have on Norfolk. Suffolk taxpayers deserve better than this. Mr Betts appears now to be trying to scare the public by threatening that Police Officer numbers may need to be reduced, in reality he states "the equivalent of" which is not the same thing, it could means cuts from elsewhere totalling an equivalent amount to that of 40 PC's pay. Come on Mr Betts, the public of Suffolk are not stupid.

    Report this comment

    SuffolkGirl

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Of course he wants it to happen it increase the size of his empire. I agree with another post lets counter propose that the merged control room be in Suffolk. Its about time we stopped sending these job and roles that require some local knowledge out of the county. There are already a number of companies around Ipswich that run call centres so staff availability with the right skills should not be a problem. Come on fight for Suffolk.

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Does this bloke look as if he has a clue?

    Report this comment

    graham garrod

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Let me get this straight, the people of Suffolk have to loose their control room, which consists of 145 FRONT LINE STAFF, in order to save Norfolk from losing 70 PCSOs. Norfolk have a MUCH higher percentage of front line officers than Suffolk. When will Suffolk gain from this merger. MAYBE if Norfolk introduced a crime desk like Suffolk has got, instead of attending every single job no matter how low level (even jobs where the victim is more than happy to deal over the phone) they might be able to save some money rather than stealing suffolks jobs in order to hide their history of bad management decisions. If the control room moves to Norfolk you can guess where all the Lowestoft officers will end up being dragged to - Great Yarmouth no doubt! Unfortunately feeling amongst all Suffolk officers & staff is that this is a done deal. Top brass in Suffolk don't have the back bone to argue for Suffolk and it's people. Only Norfolk will gain (once again) from ANOTHER merger of services

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    Grace05

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • IF they 'have' to be merged - why is the better option in Norfolk, why doesn't the main control room be in Suffolk. Everything is Norfolk this and that - Why isn't Suffolk considered! . Answer me that you Norfolk puppet.

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    oilburner1978

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • i agree with this gentlemens comments i think he has got it spot on

    Report this comment

    Dave

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • The cap Gemini evaluation for both Chief Constables recommended that CCR (Crime Control Room) is located in Norfolk; and SSP (back room shared services) in Suffolk. The original announcement which was presented as an almost fait accompli and took public and media unaware. Why ? This arrangement is clearly a first step towards a single constabulary for Suffolk & Norfolk. Even if Suffolk gets the SSP in this first round, we all know that form dictates that a single constabulary will eventually be overseen from Norwich & Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Mark Ling

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • If we got rid of these two looking after my self crime commissioners we would at a start save £240.000 a year give the jobs back to the chief constables ,and let get back to real policemen doing the job that is looking after the people of Suffolk.

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • ALL POLICE CRIME COMMISSIONERS SHOULD BE A SERVING POLICEMAN . YES I AM SHOUTING.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • It is time for the PCC of Suffolk to represent us the control room must not move to Norfolk. It is the poeple of Suffolks front line YES front line of the Police Force. I do not care how you buy the offcie equipment or toilet paper but I do care about the control room, along with very body I have spoken to this includes elected serving councillors we all agree that it must stay in Suffolk.

    Report this comment

    True blue

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • So he wants to put Suffolk the control staff out of a job to save 70 Pcso's jobs in Norfolk? Who is he trying to blackmail?

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • mine not printed again

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • So the guy from Norfolk says it would be bad to not merge the two controls rooms. Well how would he feel about a small change in the proposal? How about merge the two control rooms into one but base it at Martlesham? I bet he wouldn't want that!

    Report this comment

    Chris Church

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Suffolk should categorically not agree to this merger. The intentions behind it are corrupt and merely for the financial gains of those in the top tier of management. I have every faith in Tim Passmore fighting this for us, we need to emphasise the police are "public servants" not Self servants, and they need to take their heads out of the monetary trough. I think its about time the true financial status of these constabularies was brought to public attention! if this was done there would be some very red faces.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • How about merging the back office functions into Suffolk as a first step and, if after evaluation the projected savings are achieved then consider and review what, if anything, should be done with the call centres. I'm sure Norfolk have every bodies best interests at heart.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • No advancement in technology could possibly help in some situations. Trying to calm somebody hysterical and get their location can be next to impossible and without having some clue of the local area could prove fatal. I have previously worked with the majority of those staff members on some level and their knowledge and ability to handle the most extreme of situations is better than most. I'd certainly be less confident calling through to a control room based out of the county.

    Report this comment

    helterskelter

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • What a sad little country so called gt britain is becoming ?, money by the bucket loads is being creamed off at the top, we get involved in every little dirty war which is none of our business, we pay £50 million a day to be part of an UN Economic EU which has not balanced its books for years, and bails out Bank and Countries that have failed !, meanwhile there is NO money to Police OUR country properly !!

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Why Wymondham? Surely if a combined control is needed, which, having worked through a similar situation years ago I disagree with, put it on the border. Scole or Diss would be better for the staff of both counties.

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    John Haseltine

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • my comment not printed again

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    pandy

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • Could we also merge the Norfolk and Suffolk PCC roles, perhaps a weak compromise that the winner be based in Suffolk.

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    marbleov

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Look it is well known amongst Suffolk officers and civilian staff that Norfolk is running Suffolk Constabulary and making a pigs ear of it. Why doesn't Mr Bett just say it, he does not care what happens. Suffolk were a well respected Police Force until the interference of Norfolk taking all the best bits of Suffolk and attempting to reinvent the wheel. God help the public when the Control Room moves and they lose excellent staff.

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Friday, March 14, 2014

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

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