Framlingham: New police and fire HQ is launched

MORE police stations across Suffolk are set to merge with fire stations to cut costs and help save frontline jobs, the county’s Chief Constable has said.

Simon Ash was speaking at the official launch of the new police and fire headquarters in Framlingham yesterday.

The town’s former police station in Badingham Road closed last year and officers have moved on to the fire station site nearby in Saxmundham Road, which has had an extension built.

Police now hope to sell their old building for about �500,000 while saving on maintenance and running costs.

The joint premises was opened yesterday by Lord Tollemache, the Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, watched by Mr Ash and Chief Fire Officer Andy Fry.

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The emergency services chiefs hailed the move as a positive step in times of public sector cutbacks and Mr Ash said plans were under way to do the same elsewhere in the county.

“As a force we are going to have to make �13.5million of savings over the next four years and when 80% of the budget is taken up in people, that means we are going to have 300 people less than we have today. So the more money we can save elsewhere, the more people we can retain,” he said.

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“We will get the capital element of selling our former building in Framlingham and will no longer be carrying the big overheads there, while sharing the cost of running this site.

“It’s something we’re looking to do across the county.”

Mr Fry said the site would build on the positive working relationship between the police and fire service.

The town’s retained fire crew operates from the site, as does a police team comprising of a sergeant (who also covers other towns), a constable, Police Community Support Officers and special constables.

Lord Tollemache called the new arrangement at Framlingham “a win-win situation”.

“At a time of stringent budget cuts, it’s very important for local communities that their local police and fire service are not going to leave them.

“I thoroughly commend this move and I hope it can be replicated across the county.”

The work on the extension was completed by Blackburns Construction, from Lowestoft, while QMP Ltd was used as consultant for the work.

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