Cambridgeshire police will join two other forces in sharing control room assets to save money.
At a meeting on Thursday July 9, the Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire agreed to progress proposals for collaboration of their Force Control Rooms.
Force Control Rooms deal with 101 and 999 calls from the public, deploy officers and staff plus ensure the recording and appropriate early investigation of crime or anti-social behaviour.
Under the proposals, which are subject to staff consultation, the three forces are expected to save £4 million through the collaboration of their public contact functions which include the force control rooms and crime recording teams.
This will be achieved by introducing new technology that will allow public access to be improved. Equally, the proposals are about increasing resilience in this function across the three forces.
Collaboration would see the three forces operating from two Control Rooms based in Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon and Welwyn Garden City by March 2017. The proposals will also see a consistent approach to public contact across the two locations which will offer increased resilience and responsiveness. Many operational functions are already shared across the three forces and this proposal will enhance the deployment of those to meet public need.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, Sir Graham Bright, commenting on the proposals, said: “The decision made today means we can move to staff consultation and detailed implementation planning. My Police and Crime Plan sets out my ambition to ensure that local policing, particularly support for the most vulnerable in our society, remains at the heart of everything we do.
“The proposed changes mean that people will benefit from an improved, more effective and efficient service, while the savings generated help to protect local services, something I know is tremendously important to Cambridgeshire residents.”
The three forces have recognised the need to provide the public with alternative ways to contact them and are also exploring ways in which enhanced technology could provide access to key services online. New channels being developed will provide an improved experience through greater victim access to information.
Sir Graham added: “From public feedback, I appreciate how important both the 999 and 101 services are. I have made a recent commitment to improving the 101 performance in the short term, recruiting more staff and investing in technology. This announcement of potential collaboration represents the long term ambition for a reliable 101 and 999 service across the three counties.”
Cambridgeshire police Chief Constable Simon Parr added “Over the past five years we have made great strides to transform how we deliver our services to the public, through enhanced use of technology, while continuing to maintain our frontline officer numbers.
“Sustained budget cuts mean we have to maintain this momentum and through collaboration, we are able to streamline our services and continue to provide a good level of service to the public.
“We hope that this proposal will enable us to not only improve the ways in which the public can contact us, through enhanced customer service technology, but also help us meet the savings we need.”
The ambitious Strategic Alliance between the three forces and Police and Crime Commissioners is an on-going programme of work focusing on collaboration as an effective way of protecting frontline policing which is helping the three forces to meet a predicted funding shortfall of £56.6m between now and 2019/20. By 2019, it is anticipated that a wide range of further joint operational and organisational support functions will have been established to bring economies of scale and increased resilience.
Staff will be formally consulted on the proposals once the detailed design phase is complete.