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Firefighters could join police in new academy at former boarding school

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:03 09 September 2020

Hethersett Old Hall School is being turned into Norfolk police's new training centre - and firefighters could join them there. Pictured inset is Norfolk police chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: Steve Adams/Brittany Woodman.

Hethersett Old Hall School is being turned into Norfolk police's new training centre - and firefighters could join them there. Pictured inset is Norfolk police chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: Steve Adams/Brittany Woodman.

Steve Adams/Brittany Woodman

Firefighters could be joining their emergency services colleagues from Norfolk police at a new training centre being created at a former boarding school.

Hethersett Old Hall School isbeing turned into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyHethersett Old Hall School isbeing turned into Norfolk police's new training centre. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Hethersett Old Hall School, which went into liquidation last year, was bought for £3.35m by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk.

It is being turned into the constabulary’s primary base for training new recruits and existing staff, known as The Learning Centre.

But police staff could end up being joined by counterparts at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Members of Norfolk County Council’s Conservative-controlled cabinet will be asked next month to back a move which would see fire and police work together to create an emergency services training academy and to develop the Old Hall School site.

A report, which will come before county councillors, says: “The concept has the opportunity to be the best of its type in the country, placing Norfolk emergency services as a national leader in in-house training capability.

Hethersett Old Hall School. Picture: Brittany WoodmanHethersett Old Hall School. Picture: Brittany Woodman

“This will help attract and retain the best possible staff for Norfolk’s services.

“It also ensures that training facilities can reflect the changing and diversifying workforce and enable all our people to maximise their potential.”

It could also pave the way for Norfolk County Council to sell the current fire and rescue training site at Bowthorpe, which is more than 30 years old.

The report says the Bowthorpe site “does not currently benefit from the latest technology” and the office space there “does not meet the latest council standards for modern working arrangements”.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve AdamsChief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “This exciting proposal builds on our joint commitment for better emergency services collaboration in Norfolk.

“We continue to work with Norfolk Constabulary colleagues to explore the options for shared facilities which will ensure our staff have access to the best modern training resources.”

Hethersett fire station is not affected.

Simon Bailey, chief constable at Norfolk Constabulary, previously said of the academy: “I see this as a win-win, not only for the constabulary but for the community as well.”


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