A pioneering collaboration will see Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Suffolk Constabulary working side by side at a new Fire and Police station in Ixworth.
Councillor Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection, along with Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, officially opened the premises on Monday (January 7).
The newly refurbished facility is the second of its kind in Suffolk, designed to maximise the use of public property assets, reduce operating costs, improve services and maintain a high profile presence to local people.
Suffolk County Council and the county Suffolk’s Police Authority agreed last year to jointly fund the shared bases at fire stations in the villages of Debenham, Elmswell and Ixworth.
The arrangements are based on the model originally established at Framlingham fire station, which was extended and opened in 2011 to incorporate the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.
Fire and police staff have successfully been working together in Framlingham, sharing new office space, an interview room, a community room and other facilities.
Improved access facilities for disabled people are also provided as part of the project.
Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said; “It is more important than ever to work together with our partners to share resources and facilities in these austere times for public services.
“This collaboration offers real value for money and, more importantly, an excellent service to each community.
“I am confident that this arrangement will yield benefits to local people for some time to come.”
The combined working arrangements will create savings through improved energy efficiency with staff working from one building instead of two, plus better equipment and facilities.
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “I am confident that this initiative will ensure that both the police and fire teams remain in the heart of the community while helping both organisations operate more efficiently.
“This is an important partnership initiative which will not only help both the police and county council make best use of resources but also provide our staff with improved working facilities.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 17) Echo.