Official opening of shared police and fire station in Suffolk

(From L to R) Gareth Wilson, Chief Constable; Cllr Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection; Tim Passmore, PCC; Mark Hardingham, Chief Fire Officer, with the Constabulary and FRS standard holders.

The new shared Fire and Police Station in Saxmundham, Suffolk, is now fully operational.

Suffolk County Councillor Matthew Hicks and Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner, formally opened the £540,000 redeveloped shared base on 14 August.

As part of central government’s drive for closer emergency services collaboration, financial support for the project was secured from the Home Office. Saxmundham fire station has been adapted specifically to accommodate fire and police teams in the town and improve the facilities provided. The facility includes police office accommodation, joint training facilities, a community room, and improved welfare provision. In addition to the facilities for staff and the community, the station has been equipped to act as a multi-agency command centre for any large-scale incidents in the area, such as coastal flooding. The two emergency services have been working together and now share response and Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) bases in eight locations across Suffolk, including Clare, which is a drop-in base for passing patrols. Sharing property reduces costs and saves money for the taxpayer.

This is the eighth shared community fire and police facility in Suffolk with stations already operating in Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham, Framlingham and Clare. There are plans for further joint stations in Beccles, Leiston and Stowmarket along with some further sharing opportunities of functions in Ipswich.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said, “I am absolutely delighted to see another shared base for police and fire in the county and particularly pleased that we were able to secure additional Government funding to finance the project.

“Working together with other blue light services is absolutely key to meeting the financial challenges that we face. The existing shared stations across the county are working really well and we are seeing the benefits of reduced operating costs and improved joint working between our two key emergency services. I am committed to building on this shared working over the coming years.”

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and the Environment, Councillor Matthew Hicks, said. “We have already seen benefits in developing blue light stations with our partners in the police and the ambulance service in Suffolk. It saves the public purse the cost of running multiple buildings and enables emergency services to work closely together in supporting the community they serve. The sharing of facilities has also opened up further opportunities to collaborate in areas of service delivery, improving efficiencies and engagement with members of the public.”

The base was designed by Concertus and built by Barnes Construction.