POLICE and fire chiefs have joined forces in order to save money by sharing facilities in Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, Acting Chief Constable Iain Spittal, Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton, and Fire Authority Vice Chair Jan Brunton signed a memorandum of understanding which cements the commitment of both organisations to bring the most efficient and cost effective service to communities.
Talks between both police and fire brigade began last year, and while still in the early stages, the next phase will go further in exploring the viable options and cement plans for collaboration.
Opportunities include both police and fire officers co-locating in stations in a bid to save thousands on the estates bill for both emergency services and a specialist training facility and exploration of a community hub at Queens Meadow Business Park in Hartlepool.
Cleveland Fire Authority Vice-Chair Cllr Jan Brunton said: “Cleveland Fire Authority, and its elected members, have long recognised that there are significant benefits to working jointly with neighbouring fire and rescue services, with the local borough councils, and now through this partnership agreement with the local Police and Crime Commissioner and Cleveland Police - to provide a better integrated service to the local communities at a reduced cost to the public purse”.
Mr Coppinger said: “Collaboration is at the heart of our outstanding financial plan and I know that fire chiefs share our view that by working smarter together we are doing everything possible to face the challenges and demands placed at our door.”
Mr Hayton, said: “While it’s important that each service will retain its independent identity and autonomy, the fire brigade are committed to enabling improvements and supporting collaborative approaches, where benefits to the public can be clearly demonstrated.
“This partnership will undoubtedly support the maintenance of high levels of public safety and the front line services that deliver community safety; and will bring about improvements to the overall performance and resilience of both blue light services”.
Acting Chief Constable Spittal added: “This alliance absolutely makes sense as our officers don’t spend their time policing from behind a desk; their office is the streets of the communities they serve.
“If we can collaborate with our partners to reach our common goals of achieving savings and sharing resources, we can reduce the money we spend on buildings and invest it into our people.
“This alliance reaffirms the commitment of all involved to keep communities safe and protect people from harm.”