Fire, police and ambulance now all under one roof in Rushden

Debbie Tweddle, David Wilson and Lara Alexander-Lloyd

Debbie Tweddle, David Wilson and Lara Alexander-Lloyd

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Officers from the three emergency services are all operating from the same premises for the first time in the county.

Rushden fire station in Washbrook Road is now home to not only firefighters, but also Northamptonshire Police community officers who were based at the police station in North Street.

They have relocated in the past three months, and join the fire service as well as East Midlands Ambulance Service which has had a base there for about a year.

The Rushden initiative is the first in the county to have police, fire and ambulance all operating under the same roof.

Station manager David Wilson said: “For us it’s all about communication.

“Before it would be a phonecall or an email, but now we are in the same place.”

He said it is all about ‘looking after our community’ and the closer working has already seen occasions where a PCSO has been deployed with the fire service for a call-out, which may not have been possible otherwise.

Mr Wilson said the fire station could have from five to 25 people based there at any time, with plenty of space for each of the services.

The co-location of police officers and firefighters is part of the ongoing collaboration between the county’s police and fire services, with the first shared base being established in Thrapston in 2013.

Police inspector for Wellingborough and Rushden Lara Alexander-Lloyd said: “We will have 15 people working out of here, police officers and PCSOs.

“It’s a great opportunity, with the benefits for us including sharing information and greater understanding of how each other works.

“It also allows us to understand better how we can work together in the future.”

She said collaborative working was very important, particularly if an area has an ongoing issue, and she added: “It’s a real sign of strength and unity.”

Facilities at the station which can be used by all the emergency services include meeting rooms, a kitchen, showers and a gym with equipment which the police are hoping to upgrade.

EMAS team leader Caryllanne Kelly said the station’s facilities are great for their crews and the chance to feed information back to each other is very important.

Locality manager for EMAS Debbie Tweddle said the opportunity to be in the same place and de-brief after an incident which all three services have attended can also be hugely beneficial.

A small area to speak to members of the public has been installed at Rushden station, although the building is not open to the public.

However, anyone needing to contact the police can call 999 in an emergency, 101 for a non-emergency or speak to officers when they are based at Rushden Library.