September 17 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 17, 2014
Today Suffolk residents are being offered the opportunity to give their views on the controversial proposal to relocate the county’s police control room to Norfolk.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tim Passmore has said it is vital proper public consultation takes place before a decision is made on whether to merge both counties’ 999 call centres.
The East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star have replicated a survey on the PCC’s website and are asking for people to tell us what they think.
The papers’ editor Terry Hunt said: “We believe it is vital people have the opportunity to say whether or not they are in favour of Suffolk’s police control room being relocated to a central base in Norfolk.
“This is an issue which will have a huge impact on the people of Suffolk. The decision-making process must be transparent and the public must be given every opportunity to express their views.”
“I would urge readers to fill in the survey in today’s paper and tell us what they think.”
The proposed merger, which was put forward by Suffolk Chief Constable Douglas and his Norfolk counterpart Simon Bailey, has led to fierce criticism from the staff involved and fears over public safety. Concerns have been raised about the duplication of village and road names. Comparisons have also been made with the serious problems encountered by having the ambulance service control centre being located in Norfolk and issues with the fire service control being moved to Cambridgeshire.
The proposal comes as part cost-cutting measures aimed at bridging a combined funding gap of £36.7million by March 2018. Suffolk Constabulary must find savings of £16.4m, while Norfolk’s shortfall is £20.3m.
However, while Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett has made it clear he is in favour of a merged command centre probably located in Wymondham, Mr Passmore has said he remains to be convinced.
Launching the public survey he said: “It is really important that I, as the elected representative of the people of Suffolk, fight to protect front line policing in the county and I believe that the control room is a very integral element of our front line policing.
“No decision has been made yet, but I can assure you that I will carefully consider the Chief Constable’s proposals and the business cases and will make my decision based on what is best for the people of Suffolk.
“I am deeply concerned about the potential impact on people’s livelihoods and jobs. Yes, there are budgetary pressures, but we need to make sure whatever recommendations there are, are resilient and effective.”
To take part in the EADT and Ipswich Star’s online survey click here