Plans to refurbish and extend Rushden fire station so police officers can also be based there have been submitted.
The proposals are part of the ongoing collaboration and integration between Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Policing the local community is about much more than a building though, and we are committed to retaining a police presence in RushdenDeputy Chief Constable Andy Frost
The extended building will provide additional office accommodation, enabling police officers currently based at Rushden police station to move to the fire station and share facilities with fire and rescue service staff.
Documents submitted as part of the planning application state: “Northamptonshire Police are working together with the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service to facilitate the introduction of a police response team to Rushden Fire Station.
“Relocating response operations from the existing police station in Rushden to the fire station allows the police to dispose of the existing police station as part of their larger estate rationalisation strategy.
“All of which is driven to provide a better standard of service and value to the tax-payer.”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Frost said: “The police and fire services have worked in partnership for many years and one of the best ways to bring about even closer working is by basing police and fire staff in the same building.
“We also need to make sure we have up-to-date facilities suitable for today’s policing, and many of our existing police stations are old, inefficient and expensive to maintain, including Rushden station.
“Policing the local community is about much more than a building though, and we are committed to retaining a policing presence in Rushden.
“If the planning application is approved, both community and response officers will be based at the fire station, which is already an established community facility in a central, accessible location.”
Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson added: “Sharing our premises with our policing colleagues provides a number of benefits and has already proved successful in Thrapston, where police officers have been based at the town’s fire station since September 2013.
“Additional space is needed at Rushden to accommodate both police and fire teams properly, hence the plans to extend.
“I would like to reassure people that disruption will be kept to a minimum and, most importantly, fire services will not be affected during the building work.”
County council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection Cllr Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: ”Our commitment to working smarter together has proven to be highly successful and we continue to incorporate joint working wherever possible.
“We welcome the support of the local community in this integrated operation.”
Police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds added: “Greater integration between police and fire services has been an important part of the police and crime plan, as is modernising the police estate.
“We need to make sure our buildings and facilities are fit for policing in the 21st century and it makes good sense where possible, financially and operationally, to share resources with our emergency service colleagues who share the same purpose of protecting the public and keeping our communities safe.”
Subject to planning permission being granted by East Northants Council, there will be a tender process for the building contract, with the aim of starting on site towards the end of October 2015.
Completion is anticipated by March 2016.
If approved, the plans include a new lobby area with an enquiry desk for the Police Authority, which would be open to the public four hours per day, three days per week.
Plans are also under way for the Northampton south west safer community team and local response officers to be based with fire officers at Mereway fire station.