HAMPSHIRE’S police and fire services are expected to save £600,000 each a year by sharing headquarters in the first deal of its type in the UK.
Senior officers at Hampshire Constabulary are set to move into Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Leigh Road, Eastleigh, next year, as reported by the Daily Echo yesterday.
The agreement comes after a successful funding bid to the Government.
The police force will pay the fire service rent, while the police will save money by closing a number of other offices before staff move to Eastleigh.
No jobs will be lost, it is understood.
Earlier this year the Daily Echo revealed that proposals to merge some services were being considered as both forces look to save cash.
Hampshire police has to save £25 million by 2016, with more than 500 jobs set to be axed, while Hampshire Fire and Rescue faces its own £12 million black hole.
Now the two organisations are set to merge their back office functions at the Leigh Road site, with 100 senior police officers and support staff likely to make the move there next autumn.
Hampshire Constabulary’s day-to-day operations will be run out of Mottisfont Court in Winchester, which was bought from the county council for £1.5 million in 2012.
The move also follows the sale of the police force’s former HQ at Alpha Park, a building which was described as a “white elephant” after being bought at great expense but then sold off at a huge loss to the taxpayer.
Both services submitted bids to the Government ahead of the move, and Whitehall informed the force yesterday they were successful in a bid for £1 million of funding.
That will be spent on refurbishing the Leigh Road complex to accommodate staff from both forces.
Leigh Road will also be the venue for a shared Gold command facility, which could be used by either force or both in the case of a major emergency.
Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said: “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 Service into the future.”
Constabulary Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “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.
Chief constable of Hampshire Andy Marsh.
“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 added: “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.”