October 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 17, 2014
Suffolk’s police chief has fired a warning shot across the bows of his Norfolk counterpart, telling him to stick to running his own constabulary.
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett has claimed failing to merge the counties’ police control rooms would result in “dire consequences” for both forces.
In response Tim Passmore effectively told Mr Bett not to make pronouncements on behalf of Suffolk Constabulary.
Mr Passmore, who is yet to be convinced about the merits of relocating Suffolk’s 999 call centre to Norfolk, said: “My view is we will sort ourselves in Suffolk. We don’t need any advice as to how we will deal with this.”
Last week Mr Bett re-iterated that he was firmly behind a proposal for a combined command and control centre, which would save nearly £2million a year.
He said if the move did not go ahead it would be “devastating”, adding: “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.”
Both forces face making massive savings from their budgets over the next four years due to Government cutbacks to grants.
However, Mr Passmore believes there may be alternatives to merging the control rooms from Suffolk’s perspective and wants to explore those. He has also raised concerns over whether or not it could potentially put Suffolk residents’ safety at risk.
Previously he stressed he would not give consent for the move to go ahead unless he could be sure it was not to the detriment of the county’s residents.
Mr Passmore said: “This next financial year is the critical time. We have set a budget for this and that gives you the opportunity to look at Plan B.
“I don’t agree with his (Mr Bett’s) analysis and that’s why we have got to look at other things to make sure we leave no stone unturned.
“We have got to have public support for these changes. If we don’t, it’s going to be very difficult to make them happen successfully.”
At a meeting in King’s Lynn last Thursday Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey warned up to 40 police officers or 70 police community support officers could be lost in Norfolk if the centralised control room did not go ahead.