Front line teams of Police Officers, as well as PCSOs, will be based at Bedford and Ampthill Community Fire Stations to enable them to spend more time in local communities and increase their visibility in local areas.
The Police Community Safety and Licensing Teams will co-locate with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue’s Prevention Team at Bedford Community Fire Station and in Ampthill the local policing team will also be based at the Fire Station.
During April Police Officers will be co-locating at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) Community Fire Stations in Luton and Shefford, meaning that instead of returning to their base they can keep close to their communities. Harrold is currently being considered as a possible future co-location. Work to co-locate Police Officers at Leighton Buzzard Community Fire Station is also underway and is expected to be complete by the autumn.
Both BFRS and the Police will also benefit from the excellent opportunities for increased levels of contact, co-operation and relationship building across the two services that this co-location brings with it.
This Police use of premises does not extend to providing front desk arrangements that allow public access to the stations or those Police Officers located there. If members of the public require the Police they should call 101 or 999 in an emergency as Police Officers and PCSOs are unlikely to be present at the station but will be out in their communities.
Cllr David McVicar, Chairman of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority is working closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner to explore areas where we can work closely together in partnership. Collaboration enables both services to build on each other’s strengths and co-locating provides a better use of our properties and other resources. “
Paul Fuller, Chief Fire Officer explains, “This is yet another area where we are collaborating with Bedfordshire Police and we are continuing to work with the Police on sharing facilities at our other Community Fire Stations. There are many areas like arson reduction where co-locating helps us exchange information and reduce risks to the public and improve public safety. We also have ambulances co-located at Shefford and Luton Community Fire Stations and locating Police Officers at these Stations will bring the three emergency services even closer together and aid our co-operation and collaboration.”
Kathryn Holloway, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ““I am absolutely delighted by the official launch of the collaboration between the Bedfordshire Police and the Fire and Rescue Service. My absolute priority has always been to increase the visibility of the Force and access to officers. The co-location facilities in Bedford and Ampthill will help enable that, and is exactly what I promised in the run-up to my election, sharing fire stations where police stations have closed where necessary.”
Sergeant Ruth Connelly from Bedfordshire Police said: “By working together the emergency services can better identify vulnerability and protect those at risk of harm. Blue Light Collaboration is about providing the best service for the public and making best use of taxpayers’ money, utilising these existing working spaces in both fire stations will enable us to work more closely with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and have a presence and base in the community.”