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Suffolk: Public backlash against proposed Suffolk police control room relocation to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:37 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:47 24 March 2014

Chief Constable Douglas Paxton

Chief Constable Douglas Paxton

Archant

Nearly 4,000 people have voiced their opposition to a proposal to merge Suffolk’s police control room with Norfolk.

Polls and petitions seeking public opinion have shown an overwhelming majority of people who have taken part are against any relocation of the 999 centre out of Suffolk.

By last Friday 607 people had responded to the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star surveys asking for their views.

A total of 563 (93%) were against any merger and relocation.

Out of 220 coupons printed in the paper, 215 opposed the proposal. Online our survey had 387 responses with 348 against, 33 for, and six don’t knows. Unison, which represents many of the 134 staff in Suffolk’s police control room had 3,169 people register their opposition in its own online poll.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has said he remains to be convinced and will not approve any merger until he is sure it does not impact adversely on the safety of Suffolk people.

Last week Mr Passmore met with Suffolk MPs Ben Gummer, Dan Poulter, Peter Aldous, Therese Coffey and David Ruffley at Westminster.

The only two Suffolk MPs not present were Matthew Hancock, who had a ministerial engagement, and Tim Yeo, who sent his apologies.

Mr Passmore said: “The MPs were supportive of whatever decision is made. We put our cards on the table. They will do whatever they can at government level to see that Suffolk receives its fair share of resources.”

Combining the control rooms in a central location would save an estimated £1.84million per year.

Suffolk Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, who put forward the proposal with his Norfolk counterpart Simon Bailey, said: “My aim is to keep the bulk of our workforce dealing directly with our communities on what matters most to them. This means keeping our Neighbourhood, Response, Investigation and Public Protection teams as well staffed as possible. Suffolk and Norfolk now face a combined deficit of £36m – Suffolk alone £16.4m – which has to be found by March 2018.

“A single control room would use the latest technology, which greatly aids local knowledge but crucially will still result in local officers being dispatched to deal with local incidents.

“Financially, it appears to make strong sense to base the control room at Wymondham in Norfolk.”

However, Mark Trask of UNISON said: “The people of Suffolk should not be subject to a cost-saving experiment that could cost them their lives – we say keep our police control room in Suffolk and we urge every resident in the county to do likewise.

To take part in our survey click here.

4 comments

  • That cap badge is certainly not a Suffolk Police one . I hope it is not an early sight of a combined Norfolk and Suffolk police force badge which must surely be the next money saving suggestion.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Why not merge the Eastern Region police forces? Why does the Suffolk tax payer need to pay for a Chief Constable and the associated fat cat leadership structure.

    Report this comment

    Peter Wyburn

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I see that Tim Yeo has been taking his responsibilities as MP to his Suffolk constituents as seriously as ever. Was he out and about on behalf of his own business interests again, by any chance?

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • An example of the improvements (NOT) of sharing resources with Norfolk is the police website. The safer Neighbourhood team section under priorities used to have updated on what they where doing to achieve an outcome on a priority and once complete what the outcome was. This disappeared and when I contacted the web admin people they said the facility had been lost when they merged with the software used for the Norfolk police website.

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Monday, March 24, 2014

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

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