- Gloucestershire’s first mixed blue police, fire and rescue service stations have moved a step closer
- Gloucestershire County Council’s Fire and Rescue (GFRS) Scrutiny Committee today (11 Nov) confirmed a proposal for police officers to work out of fire stations in Winchcombe and Newent
- While there is unlikely to be any change in how GFRS operates, it does mean Gloucestershire Constabulary will replace its current police points in Winchombe and Newent with new ‘Community Policing Hubs’
- Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Evans said, “Working more closely with our partners has to be the way forward and this is an opportunity to raise the Constabulary profile in rural areas where some people might feel isolated and vulnerable”.
It has been talked about for some time, but now Gloucestershire’s first mixed Police, Fire and Rescue Stations have moved a step closer.
The news that Newent and Winchcombe fire stations will now become operating bases for police officers was confirmed at a meeting of Gloucestershire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Committee today during a session on Police and Fire Service collaboration.
The move will see better facilities available for Police Officers in Newent and Winchcombe, and encourage closer working between police and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) to keep residents safe and tackle issues like anti-social behaviour and road safety.
While there is unlikely to be any change in how GFRS operates, local policing teams could now start and finish their shifts at the new hub, going out on patrol in both vehicles and on foot and returning for meal breaks. Teams could also use the building for pre-arranged appointments or meetings with the public and other agencies. They can also serve as bases for local Special Constables and Volunteer Police Community Support Officers which the Police and Crime Commissioner and Constabulary are working to expand.
Work has already begun to look at other areas where it makes operational sense for similar collaborations to take place
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) Nick Evans, who made the announcement at today’s scrutiny meeting, said: “This is a huge step forward in working together with our colleagues in the County Council and GFRS to make our County Safer.
“Our Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson promised to expand the visibility and presence of police in more of our communities, particularly rural areas, by making better use of publically owned buildings, and collaborating with the fire service. This shows we mean business and are delivering on that promise.
“Work has already begun to look at other areas where it makes operational sense for similar collaborations to take place, adding to the existing footprint of police buildings. With regular and volunteer officers working from these new stations, there will be a very visible operational impact that will be felt by our communities.”
“This is a further step in our commitment to blue light collaboration.”
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I fully support collaboration between our fire and rescue service and police partners. I am pleased to see that the feasibility has been scrutinised appropriately and that Newent and Winchcombe Community Fire Stations are able to provide a base for the police officers to operate out of collaboratively whilst continuing to provide valuable community services.
“The co-location will be at no additional cost to Gloucestershire County Council. It is important we maintain high quality, accessible services whilst ensuring value for money for the residents of Newent and Winchcombe.”
Mark Preece, chief fire officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have a very close working relationship with Gloucestershire Police and are extremely pleased that they will move in to our Community Fire Stations in Newent and Winchcombe with us. We looked at six of our stations across the county with both Newent and Winchcombe’s feasibility to co-locate successful. We currently have the Ambulance Service based at some of our community fire stations and this is a further step in our commitment to blue light collaboration.”
“We will always seek out opportunities to collaborate with other Blue Light Services to provide the best possible service to our communities.”