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Suffolk/Norfolk: Prime Minister David Cameron says feuding PCCs need to make their own decision over police control room merger

09:32 11 April 2014

David Cameron

David Cameron

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The Prime Minister ruled out an intervention in the controversial Norfolk and Suffolk police control room merger row – saying the feuding police and crime commissioners (PCC) needed to work it out.

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David Cameron said elected crime tsars had been put in place so they could make the case to local people and it was up to them to make the decision.

Suffolk’s PCC Tim Passmore and his Norfolk counterpart Stephen Bett have been at loggerheads over a proposal to merge the two force’s police control centres.

The chief constables for the two counties – Simon Bailey and Douglas Paxton – had put forward a business case stating that the control room would be based in Norfolk, possibly at the current headquarters at Wymondham.

But that idea, which would save £1.8million a year, has sparked criticism from staff whose jobs are at risk and claims that lack of local knowledge could hit public safety.

Mr Bett has made it clear he is in favour of the idea, but Mr Passmore has said he is sceptical about the proposed merger and would only agree to it if he believed it was in the best interests of the people of Suffolk.

Mr Cameron said: “I think it is a matter for the police forces and the police and crime commissioners to discuss and find the way ahead.”

He added that it was not right for a Prime Minister to intervene in particular police stations, and say you have to do things like this or like that. “They do need to find efficiencies so they can make sure police are out on the beat, but it must be for local police commissioners to make the argument,” he said.

Asked about the opposition from local people, he added: “They elected the police and crime commissioner and that is why we introduced this change. There is now local accountability. Police and crime commissioners in Suffolk and Norfolk are now accountable to their electorate for these issues.

“They are the ones who will have to make the argument, make the decisions and be answerable at the ballot. That is democracy. We have enlarged democracy by having these police and crime commissioners. But my responsibility is to make sure the system as a whole is working and we are keeping crime down. Crime in Suffolk, for example, is down 17%.”

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6 comments

  • I fail to understand the logic of attempting to merge two very large counties, particularly when Norfolk County Council is yet to understand the Norfolk boundary goes further west than Dereham. Merging may save some money but standards can only fall. As PCC, Stephen Bett has a duty to respond within 15 working days, if he fails to act make a complaint against him to the IPCC.

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    Honest John

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • the control room will go to norfolk , all norfolks waste will come to suffolk. [we are being treated like a crap county]

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • I am afraid that Mr Cameron has a few lessons to learn about accountability here. There is no obligation on Mr Bett to answer questions from the public. He is accountable only to the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel. Unfortunately, the Panel has decided that it will not submit to Mr Bett questions sent to it by members of the public. The Freedom of Information Act 2000, of course, applies but any public authority has enormous scope under the Act for withholding information. Cllr Alex Byrne of Norfolk County Council is the chairman of the Panel. If you are concerned about this, do contact him.

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    John Martin

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • Suffolk taxes being used to support other county's funding shortfalls, how come we lose all our control rooms across Blue Light services, which is not the case for other counties? Who is sticking up for Suffolk?

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    Andy Message

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • The PM's East Anglian dam.age limitation tour continues, here we have him trying to justify an expenditure and smooth out a project that has already gone out of control, nationally and locally, i.e that of the most uncontrollable, unwanted PCC's, their ego's and allures.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • No Mr Cameron, it is not democracy - that involves having a say in things... have YOU tried to submit a question to the Norfolk PCC in the hope of getting a response? Ordinary members of the public try to do this regularly and he just ignores them, as do his pals on the panel. So much for being able to 'have your say' and so much for 'local accountability'....

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    User Removed

    Friday, April 11, 2014

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