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Norfolk PCC Lorne Green keen to revisit proposals to merge police control rooms

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:24 11 December 2017

Norfolk police control room at Wymondham. Photo: Bill Smith

Norfolk police control room at Wymondham. Photo: Bill Smith

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A merger of Norfolk and Suffolk’s police control rooms could be back on the cards - but still faces the obstacle of persuading Suffolk’s reluctant police and crime commissioner.

Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The two forces drew up plans a few years ago to take emergency calls from across the two counties at the police headquarters in Wymondham.

It would have saved the constabularies £1.8m and was backed by Stephen Bett, then Norfolk’s commissioner – but Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore’s strong opposition killed the deal.

Now Norfolk PCC Lorne Green has said he is ready, willing and would be very happy to look again at the business case for the merger.

At a time when the Norfolk force’s budget is under severe strain with a further £10m or £11m of savings to be made, Mr Green said he has a “keen interest in revisiting the business case for the shared control room”.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Courtesy of Suffolk PCC.Tim Passmore, Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Courtesy of Suffolk PCC.

But the idea of revisiting the centralised 999 centre has received a cooler response from Mr Passmore.

He said: “We face significant financial challenge and we obviously need to look at ways to bridge the funding gap.

“Before Christmas we will find out from government what our settlement is for the next financial year. The chief constable and I will then have to work through the detail to see exactly what this means for us and confirm our plans to meet the savings required.

“As I said back in 2014, I believe we have to exhaust all possibilities before I consider the control room again. For me moving the CCR has got to be the last resort and I remain unconvinced this would be in the public interest for both counties at this stage.”

Mr Green, who has met the Suffolk PCC recently to discuss ongoing collaboration between the two forces, said: “I’ve suggested to my Suffolk counterpart this week that as far as I’m concerned there’s an open door and I’m ready and willing and would be very happy to revisit the business case that was before both counties a few years ago.”

A previous report produced by a joint Norfolk and Suffolk team, which included assistant chief constables from both counties, said there was a clear business case for having the joint control room in Wymondham.

The report said the joint control room would save Norfolk £973,918 and Suffolk £870,567.


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