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Praise from Minister as PCC officially welcomes fire and rescue

Norfolk’s police and fire services are now working closer together than ever before as the two services have joined together to share a headquarters.

Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service’s (NFRS) Senior Management Team, including Chief Fire Officer Roy Harold, moved into Norfolk Constabulary’s Operations and Communications Centre (OCC) in Wymondham. The move means that the highest ranking officers in Norfolk Constabulary and NFRS will now be working in adjacent offices.

The chief aims of the move are to establish a more joined up approach between the two blue light services, deliver an improved service to Norfolk’s communities and simultaneously provide savings for taxpayers.

The latest collaborative move follows on from the successful relocation of NFRS’s data analysts moving alongside their police counterparts in OCC over a year ago.

PCC Stephen Bett, said: "On behalf of the Norfolk policing family, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the senior officer team from the fire and rescue service. This move will allow more efficient and effective working between our emergency services which is excellent news for Norfolk people.”

Cllr Paul Smyth, Chairman of the Communities Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: "Establishing a joint headquarters for Norfolk’s Police and Fire and Rescue Services is a key step in improving the effectiveness of the emergency services across the county. Collaboration has been developing for some time and this move will allow that partnership to progress to a new level.”

Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Hamlin said: "This is a key step in emergency services working closer together to improve the service we provide to the communities of Norfolk. As a result of this collaboration, both Norfolk Constabulary and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service will be able to look at new ways of working together and improve efficiencies for both services in the future.”

Roy Harold, Chief Fire Officer for Norfolk, said: "When the public dial 999, they expect and deserve that the emergency services work together seamlessly to give them the best help and support we can. Blue light services already operate as a team, and basing our senior officers alongside each other will help make that teamwork even more effective.”

A new joint sign has also been put up outside OCC, as the constabulary welcomes in their colleagues from the fire service. NFRS’ current HQ in Hethersett will still remain in use as a logistics hub and fire station.

Following the move Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning, said: “The decision by Norfolk’s police and fire service to share a headquarters is exactly the sort of collaboration that this Government wants to see more of across the country.

"As a former firefighter and now Minister for Policing and Fire, I know from first-hand experience how well the police and fire and rescue service can work together. We believe that better joint working can strengthen the emergency services, deliver significant savings and improve the service to the public. It makes no sense for the emergency services to have different premises, different back offices and different IT when their work is so closely related.”