Minister says emergency services should join forces

Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, had a look around Bury St Edmunds Fire Station on Wednesday ANL-160217-153339001
Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, had a look around Bury St Edmunds Fire Station on Wednesday ANL-160217-153339001
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A Government minister has said all three emergency services should operate from a single site as he met with blue light chiefs on Wednesday.

Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, said on a tour of Bury Fire Station that although it is not a one-size-fits-all issue, more can be done to slim down management staff and bring together resources.

Mike Penning with Chief Constable Gareth Wilson and PCC Tim Passmore ANL-160219-170002001

Mike Penning with Chief Constable Gareth Wilson and PCC Tim Passmore ANL-160219-170002001

He said: “In this part of the world we have fire services working across borders.

“In other parts of the country you have all three services in one and in other parts of the country you have two in one.

“What we are trying to do is get a synergy, not saying one size fits all for the country.

“As much as possible we should have the three emergency services on one site.

“That is quite difficult if you already have an established police station - you can’t park one of these things (fire engine) in the foyer of a police station but you certainly can park a police car in a car park like this.”

Mr Penning later met Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Chief Constable Gareth Wilson to talk the possibility of a centralising police, fire and ambulance services in the future.

Mr Passmore said: “He made quite clear there’s a statutory duty to collaborate and was clearly interested in putting all blue light services together. While he was not going to impose this he was very keen for us to find a solution as soon as possible.

“Ultimately, the acid test is what is best for the people and businesses in Suffolk.”