Call for more sharing of police and fire stations amid pledge for better collaboration

PUBLISHED: 14:30 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 16 January 2019

Norfolk police and crime commissioner 
Lorne Green. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2018

More police stations and fire stations should share buildings to save cash, councillors said, as a fresh commitment to collaboration was pledged.

Hunstanton Police Station. Picture: Ian BurtHunstanton Police Station. Picture: Ian Burt

Last year, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner Lorne Green’s office spent close to £100,000 exploring whether he should take over running the fire service from Norfolk County Council.

It placed the Conservative commissioner at loggerheads with the Tory controlled council.

His consultation showed 59pc of more than 7,700 people who responded to the eight-week process supported a switch in contol.

Mr Green had said the change would save millions of pounds, although his figures were disputed by the county council.

Brian Long, Conservative county councillor for Fincham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Brian Long, Conservative county councillor for Fincham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

And in the light of the opposition from County Hall, he decided not to submit a business case for a takeover.

However, the upshot Of the debate is that a ‘memorandum of understanding’ has been agreed between the commissioner and council leader Andrew Proctor over better collaboration between the fire service and the police.

It was discussed at a meeting of the council’s communities committee on Wednesday.

And Conservative Brian Long, who represents Fincham, said: “I welcome this development. For instance, in Hunstanton we have got a police station next to a fire station.

“The police station is not massively used and it might be better to relocate and save the public purse money.

“There would still be a police presence, but perhaps in the fire station.”

The ccommittee also agreed that Mr Green should be allowed to become a member of the fire and rescue authority, although that will still need to be ratified by full council.

Mr Green said: “My first interest is to protect and grow the emergency services.

“I want to do what I can do we can protect the budgets and grow them going forward.”

Meanwhile, the hours of Norfolk’s Record Office look likely to be cut as part of County Hall’s drive to save millions of pounds.

The council was accused of cutting “an easy hit”, by Tim Adams, Liberal Democract councillor for Cromer, but officers said they had to find ways to save money - and efforts were being made to make records available online.

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