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 Constab-ulary will next year move into Hamp-shire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Leigh Road, Eastleigh.
The agreement comes after a successful funding bid to the Government. The police will pay the fire service rent but save money by closing a number of other offices before staff move to Eastleigh. No jobs will be lost in the move, it is understood.
Proposals emerged earlier this year to combine some services to save money. Hampshire Police has to save £25million by 2016, with more than 500 jobs set to be axed, while Hampshire Fire and Rescue faces making £12m of cuts.
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 from Mottisfont Court, in Winchester, which was bought from the county council for £1.5m 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 has informed the force they were successful in a bid for £1m 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.
“I look forward to continuing the close working relationship with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service into the future.”
Hampshire 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.”
Hampshire Fire Authority chairman Royston Smith added: “This 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.”