Hampshire Police Chief Constable Alex Marshall will be open it today
The police and fire service in Stockbridge are joining forces by sharing office space in a bid to save money and maintain their presence in the community.
The Stockbridge Safer Neighbourhoods team moved into the fire station on the High Street on June 1; with the new location being officially opened on Thursday, June 14 by Chief Constable Alex Marshall and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer John Bonney.
The move is the first of its kind taking place in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and part of the constabulary’s estate modernisation programme. 18 police stations, one of which is Stockbridge, have been earmarked for closure because the buildings are not fit for modern policing or not cost efficient. By selling some of the inefficient buildings, Hampshire Constabulary hopes to make some of the savings it has to make as a result of the reduced budget.
With both emergency services sharing the facilities of one building, the costs will be a reduction for both organisations and the policing and fire service in Stockbridge will not be affected.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall said: "We need to make significant savings but we are committed to maintaining the number of frontline officers as well as keeping a presence in the communities we serve.
"To achieve this we will be moving out of traditional police stations where appropriate during the next few years and share premises with partner agencies such as the fire service or local councils, or even local businesses.
"The move to Stockbridge fire station is the first of many collaboration initiatives with our partner agencies. Officers in Stockbridge are only moving a few metres up the road, so the people of Stockbridge won’t notice a difference in the quality of policing service they receive. The Safer Neighbourhoods team will continue to patrol their beats and be available at beat surgeries and community meetings to deal with local issues and concerns."
Chief Officer John Bonney said: "I am delighted that Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are working together in this way. It clearly demonstrates our commitment to work closely together and find more efficient ways to do so.
"I hope this will be the first of many as we are already exploring a number of other sites where we can share premises and costs. It also provides us with the opportunity to support our local communities in a more integrated way."
Councillor Adrian Collett, Hampshire Police Authority, said: "In June 2011 the Authority was assured by the chief constable that Safer Neighbourhoods teams would not be leaving local areas, but moving to new locations within the same communities. It is promising to see the move in Stockbridge has taken place, this will allow frontline policing services to be at the heart of the communities they serve."
The Safer Neighbourhoods team were the only team left at the old police station. The building will be sold in the near future; the exact timescales are yet to be confirmed.