A plan to merge Cambridgeshire police’s control room with two other forces will be investigated as a way of saving millions of pounds a year.
The police and crime commissioners (PCC) in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire have agreed to draw up a full business case into the possible merger of the three counties’ police control rooms.
It is thought merging the controls, which handle 999 and non-emergency calls as well as crime recording, could save at least £5million a year.
Work is underway to choose where the control room will be based, which could include a split over two locations. Currently Cambridgeshire’s is based in Hinchingbrooke and it was reportedly the favoured location for the three counties when the idea of a merger was raised last year.
Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire PCC, said: “This is an important step and represents the next major phase of an historic collaboration between the three forces.
“Crucially, this agreement will pave the way for Cambridgeshire Constabulary to work more efficiently to meet our tough spending targets while at the same time minimise the impact on local policing in the county.
“It will help the forces to meet the £68m funding gap over the next four years.
“I am therefore delighted that the strategic alliance has been able to come together and agree to further explore the proposal to move to one or two control room(s) serving the three counties.
“The three forces have an established track record of successful collaboration and I am confident this success can be built on with this agreement.”
Chief constable Simon Parr added: “The operational and financial advantages of joining specialist units together have already been proven.
“By collaborating the control rooms we will have greater resilience to deal with emergency and non-emergency calls plus manage demand on policing services.”
The business case is expected to be decided in the spring.
A merger of police control rooms has also been considered for Norfolk and Suffolk.
Creating one control near Norwich could result in the loss of up to 70 jobs.
Fire control rooms have previously been merged.