Suffolk: Police chief cancels meeting with Norfolk counterpart to seek views over control room merger

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner - Credit: Archant

Views will be sought from the public over a controversial proposal to move Suffolk’s police control room to Norfolk.

A short electronic survey is to be set up in the next few days on the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s website asking residents what they think about relocating the emergency despatch centre.

The county’s police chief Tim Passmore is also lining up consultation meetings with Unison, the union which represents many of the staff affected, and Suffolk Police Federation.

Further canvassing of views is likely to take place either by e-mail or in face-to-face discussions with MPs, council leaders, business people, the Superintendents’ Association and the National Association of Retired Police Officers.

In addition Mr Passmore is understood to be meeting control room staff this afternoon.

Meanwhile, an extraordinary meeting for April 3 which was scheduled during last Thursday’s official announcement of the proposed relocation has been cancelled to the “disappointment” of Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett. Mr Passmore felt more time was needed for consultation to take place.

The meeting will now take place on April 30 at the scheduled Norfolk and Suffolk Collaboration Panel at Wymondham, Norfolk.

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Mr Bett said he understood the need for thorough consultation, but was “disappointed” that staff would be “left in limbo” for weeks longer.

Mr Bett is believed to favour the proposal put forward by Suffolk’s Chief Constable Douglas Paxton and his Norfolk counterpart Simon Bailey to merge the police 999 call centre in Norfolk. This would save around £1.8million per year.

However, Mr Passmore has said he is sceptical about the benefits of moving the control room.

A separate proposal to save £2.5m per year by basing 400 Norfolk and Suffolk civilian support staff at a single location in Suffolk is also on the table.

This includes human resources, finance, ICT, procurement, estates and transport roles.

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