HAMPSHIRE'S police and fire services are set to share the same headquarters.

Senior police officers are set to move into the fire service's base in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, next year in the first move of its kind in the country.

It comes after the Daily Echo reported earlier this year that police chiefs were considering moving in with their emergency service colleagues as they look at ways to cut costs.

The announcement that the constabulary's strategic headquarters will move to Leigh Road comes after the force was successful in a bid for £1million to allow the move to happen.

The force's operational headquarters will remain in Mottisfont Court, Winchester, which was bought from the county council for £1.5million in 2012.

Following the successful funding bid, the Leigh Road complex will be refurbished to meet the needs of its new occupants, who could start to move in next autumn.

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said: “Collocating senior police officers and support staff from Hampshire Constabulary with Hampshire Fire and Rescue is key to the successful delivery of my policing estate strategy.

“It is only by investing in joint-working initiatives such as this that I will be able to protect people and places locally while ensuring that the police's estate is cost-effective and fit for purpose despite significant economic challenges.

“I look forward to continuing the close working relationship with Hampshire Fire and Rescue into the future.”

Chief Constable Andy Marsh added: “This is another example of how Hampshire's emergency services are leading the way.

“We all have to be prepared to think differently if we are to maintain a high level of service to the public and make the savings we need to. Co-location at this HQ, sharing accommodation in the heart of communities, and a joined up approach to back office resource is all part of a bigger picture.

“We are prioritising the quality of our service to the public and frontline policing over expensive bricks and mortar.”

Hampshire Fire Authority chairman Royston Smith said: “As an authority, we have to address a £12 million financial gap over the next five years - this strategic estate partnership will increase occupancy rates of currently under utilised buildings and will enable us to protect jobs and the service we provide to the communities of Hampshire.

“It's a real win-win situation both for us as organisations and for the public of Hampshire.”