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Suffolk: Police 999 centre could move to Norfolk

11:31 24 February 2014

The Suffolk Constabulary headquarters in Martlesham Heath

The Suffolk Constabulary headquarters in Martlesham Heath

Suffolk’s police control room could be moved to Norfolk with the loss of about 70 jobs, it can be revealed.

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If a joint centre based near Norwich is created, it will leave Suffolk without an emergency control room - 999 calls for the fire and ambulance services are already handled outside the county.

Civilian staff at Suffolk police headquarters at Martlesham are being briefed in one-to-one meetings today. The meetings are taking place ahead of a Norfolk and Suffolk Collaboration Panel at Martlesham police headquarters on Thursday.

The constabularies’ hierarchy will be discussing proposals for the future structure of the two forces’ emergency call centres at the meeting, which is open to the public.

Although it has been stressed no decisions have been made, it has raised the threat of Norfolk-based staff despatching Suffolk officers from a centralised command and control room based at Wymondham, near Norwich.

Should a decision eventually be made to base a joint police control centre in Norfolk it would mean that all three emergency services covering Suffolk are despatched by call takers from outside of the county.

The county’s fire service control room was moved to Cambridgeshire in a merger on October 2011. The ambulance service’s call centre is based in Hellesdon, Norfolk.

Those changes went ahead despite fears being raised that a lack of local knowledge among control room staff could lead to life-threatening delays in Suffolk.

Among those attending Thursday’s Collaboration Panel meeting to discuss the future of the control rooms in Wymondham and Martlesham will be Suffolk Police and Crime commissioner Tim Passmore and his Norfolk counterpart Stephen Bett.

Also due to attend are the Suffolk’s Chief Constable Douglas Paxton and Norfolk’s chief Simon Bailey, along with other members of their senior management teams.

It is understood other ‘back office’ functions could also be affected by the continuing collaboration. It follows cuts to Government grants which began in 2010.

Speaking ahead of today’s briefings, Mr Passmore said: “The meeting on Thursday is not a decision-making body. We are awaiting constabulary papers so I can have a look at them and study the proposals.

“There are various options being worked up. None of those will happen until the police and crime commissioners agree.

“I am concerned about the potential impact on people’s livelihoods and jobs. I need to be convinced that whatever decisions need to be made are in the best interests of Suffolk. Yes, there are budgetary pressures, but we need to make sure whatever recommendations there are, are resilient and effective.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said: “Meetings have been arranged on Monday with our staff to ensure they can be directly updated on these matters ahead of any wider publication as we consider it important they are informed first.

“Therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time.”

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19 comments

  • Norfolk have a purpose build control room... Suffolk have a converted office block. Who gets the control room and who gets the office staff? Seems like an easy shout?

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    King of all

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Most of the jobs will not be lost as they will be relocated The next stage should be to have a common control room for all three emergency services which will be a lot more efficient as a lot of the time two or three of the services need to be dispatched

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    BobE

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • So Norfolk gets control of our television, our newspapers, our radio, our Ambulance control room, our Police control centre and much more to come. What do we get in return ? Norfolk's rubbish ! Well done Suffolk ! The systematic undermining of Ipswich as a regional centre is almost complete.

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    Mark Ling

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • A flawed concept sold on unlikely basis of this being a cost-saving... Simply removing control function to Norfolk is not removing cost from Suffolk - Suffolk tax payers will be contributing to Norfolk policing now they are effectively "merged" anyway. The loss of local knowledge learned over many years and familiarity with the Suffolk "lay of the land" will ultimately cost the public in the form of falling police response times I envisage. Sadly it will take the sacrificing of a long established team of civilian staff to prove the point. There is a Suffolk PCC meeting on 27th which is a public meeting that does not appear to have been well publicised - this meeting might be the last chance to make a stand against this ridiculous concept - check the PCC website for details.

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    Judge Judy

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • The implications of this are interesting. If there is a single control room dispatching Suffolk and Norfolk officers it is unreasonable to expect dispatchers to differentiate between the two. Therefore the policies and procedures controlling the two forces must be the same. It therefore follows that the two forces must be under the same control. I cannot think of a single reason why there should be two forces. Why not amalgamate the services and then tax payers could save on the cost of a chief constable and one office of police commissioner. One could probably save on a deputy chief constable and a few assistant chief constables. These would be serious savings. Seems to me that as all the control is going to Norfolk Douglas Paxton and Tim Passmore are pointless.

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    Alan

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Most of the jobs will not be lost as they will be relocated The next stage should be to have a common control room for all three emergency services which will be a lot more efficient as a lot of the time two or three of the services need to be dispatched

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    BobE

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Nothing wrong in principle in combining services to save money due to scale of operation but there is no reason Suffolk should not be in the driving seat. Part of the problem is that there are too many empires. Why not get rid of some of the Emperors and properly reorganise these services and save real money.

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    amsterdam81

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • it is because norwich are in the premier league.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Norfolk and Suffolk are 2 of the largest counties in England. What this proposal would mean is one police control room trying to cover more than 3500 square miles. One control room trying to protect a combined population of nearly 1.6 million people. A control room that is nearly 50 miles from Ipswich, a town with an urban population of 180,000 people. This is not about cutting costs, it's about cutting services and cutting safety with the people of Suffolk losing out.

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    JayLaw

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • A combined control room can easily manage the call traffic of two small counties When you merge two organisations then duplication is removed and there are large cost savings What has not been said is if this does go ahead the back office functions o HR, IT & Finance will be located in Suffolk

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    BobE

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • I agree with Emmy Lou. Norfolk has both major broadcasters, ambulance control, and manned coastguard station. The hospital tried to take many of our acute services and the mental health trust is Norfolk and Suffolk, based in Norfolk. When does Suffolk really get a bite at the apple? Oh... I forgot, Norfolk want to send us their rubbish to burn .... and we'll take it!

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    Oft Meanders

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • One interesting aspect here are the consultants employed by both forces to assist in a business case are the same group that have been reported as having problems with other government contracts - such as disability living allowance; army recruitment and the court interpreter service. Private Eye call them 'Crapita'. It would seem that this group have an eye on providing longer term outsourcing services - hardly making them independent. Someone needs to have a careful look at their data analysis and the wider risks of outsourcing - which is where this all going.

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    The Leaf Inspector

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Anything else suffolk police want to hand over to Norfolk

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    equalibrium

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • So Fire Control has moved to Cambridge, the Police Control room is going to move to Norfolk - when will this county start standing up for itself, and ensuring that the service provided to its residents is good, and protecting jobs? It is crazy that since Norfolk and Suffolk police have been working together, the senior management team at Suffolk have done little to ensure that services remain local.

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    Emmy Lou

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Interesting to know that this report appeared in the paper BEFORE the staff were even informed. It seems the Police Commissioner is more concerned at raising his profile and getting his comments published rather than genuinely caring for those who will lose their jobs! New jobs being created in Norfolk whilst we lose jobs here in Suffolk. Nice one Tim.

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    MyView

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Eggs basket anyone!?

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    Chris Church

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • The concept appears to be flawed on many levels and is unlikely to save tax payer money at all. This is a political decision - not a financial one in my opinion. Local knowledge of the "lay of the land" will be lost with out-of-county control room staff. Do Suffolk tax payers realise they will be funding Norfolk too? When this all goes wrong this will mean that the problem will not be simply swept under Norfolk's carpet - it will cost us too. I must remind people that the PCC meeting on 27th February is a PUBLIC meeting - it has not been publicised very well - go here for more information: http:www.suffolk-pcc.gov.ukeventnorfolksuffolk-collaboration-panel-5

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    Judge Judy

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • RIP Suffolk Constabulary

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    dinosaur detective

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • if you owned a building which suffolk do, or if you rented a building which norfolk do (pfi) if you were a business person, which one would you site your control room in

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    Dave

    Monday, February 24, 2014

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