Norfolk And Suffolk Police Control Room Merger 'Could Cost Lives'

25 February 2014, 06:45 | Updated: 25 February 2014, 07:16

A union's called plans to merge Norfolk and Suffolk's police control rooms 'an experiment which could cost lives'.

Unison says plans announced yesterday to merge the control rooms would put the people in Suffolk at risk.

That's because it would leave them with no 999 call centres at all, the ambulance and fire service have already moved theirs out to other counties.

The plans aren't final yet but are part of proposals to save £37 million over the next 4 years and would see some job losses.

UNISON Regional Organiser, Yvonne Cleary said:

“I hope it is the case that no decision has been or will be made about the Suffolk Control Room without full public consultation.  When Police Authorities were abolished the Coalition Government said that Police and Crime Commissioners who replaced them, would not be running local police forces but would be there to hold them to account and respond to the needs of the public.”

“A decision not to have a Police Control Room in Suffolk would be based on costs alone and not be in the best interests of the people of Suffolk.  There are sound reasons why every other Police Force in the Country has its own Control Room – why should the people of Suffolk be subject to a cost saving experiment which could cost them their lives?”

Over the next few days and weeks UNISON says it wants to consult with members about the impact on local jobs as well as the impact on services to the public.

Mark Trask, UNISON Branch Secretary at Suffolk Police said:

“The announcement today is a devastating blow to our Police Staff, the Police Officers we support and the communities we serve.   This is a dreadful decision which will undermine morale and the professional service our members provide.  Cuts to police funding are resulting in the wrong decisions being made with devastating impact on our dedicated staff, their families and the potential risks to the public.”

The proposals are being discussed in a meeting of the Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables on Thursday.