300 police officers could be based at fire stations as part of ongoing merger of blue light services

Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshrie Fire & Rescue service already has a joint intervention vehicle

Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshrie Fire & Rescue service already has a joint intervention vehicle

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Almost 300 police officers and Police Community Support Offices (PCSOs) have been given access to their local fire station as part of the ongoing merger between the two blue lights services.

A police spokesman said officers will now be able to go to their local fire station rather than return to their main base, meaning they are able to stay within their beat area for longer.

The spokesman said the overall aim is to provide office and computer facilities for police officers so they can also complete essential paperwork while remaining in the local community.

Station manager Jason Urbani said: “We have issued key fobs to around 300 police officers and PCSOs, giving them access to retained fire stations on their patch.

“Initially, they will be able to use the stations as a drop-in for welfare purposes but eventually the aim is to provide hot-desking and IT access for police officers as well.”

County Commander, Superintendent Andy Cox, said police officers having another base in their local area would be a “bonus”.

He said: “Officers still have use of their mobile devices, and access to another drop-in base means they can spend even more time on their beat and be more visible in the community.

“This is particularly important in rural areas that are some distance away from a main police station. We are working more and more closely with our fire service colleagues and it makes sense to join up and share facilities.”

Meanwhile, work is currently underway to co-locate police and fire officers at Mereway fire station in Northampton.

Building and refurbishment work is about to begin at the station, where a joint base for firefighters and community and response police officers will be established.

Fire appliances will continue to be deployed from Mereway fire station while work is being carried out. However, welfare facilities for firefighters will be provided in the police offices at Mereway, where they will be based while the building work takes place.

Group Manager Robin Porter said: “Refurbishment of the existing facility is necessary to accommodate both police and fire teams in the same building.

“The extent of the works has required us to put plans in place to ensure adequate alternative facilities are available for firefighters at Mereway during the refurbishment.”

“It is expected that this new joint fire and police facility will be completed by March next year. During the period of building work I would like to reassure people that the fire service response will be maintained within the Mereway area”.