The Home Office has awarded £620,000 to help pay for plans to “fully integrate” Northamptonshire Police and the county’s fire and rescue service.
The money will go towards the first year of a four-year project, to be led by Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmons and Northamptonshire County Council, which will eventually see emergency services sharing properties, services, training and fleet maintenance.
The grant will, the Home Office has said, help with “ambitious proposals to create the first fully integrated emergency service in the country”.
The money comes from the Home Office’s £20 million Precursor Police Innovation Fund.
Policing Minister Damian Green said: “Greater collaboration between the police and fire and rescue service will deliver a higher quality and service to the communities they serve. Like every organisation, the emergency services need to adapt and innovate.
“The funding for this project will transform the way blue light services work in Northamptonshire and improve the way they respond to incidents. There are already good examples of collaboration and this fund will help them to become the norm.”
The Home Office believes greater collaboration between the emergency services will “improve standards and drive out inefficiencies”.
Mr Simmonds said: “I am very excited about the support from the Police Innovation Fund.
“This funding, coupled with the £500,000 the Fire and Rescue Service has already received from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Transformational Challenge Award, means that we have just over £1 million to drive the changes we need to make across the two services.
“It is a significant amount of money that will help us achieve a significant amount of change and deliver on our promise to integrate two public services, which we hope to achieve during 2014.”
Police and fire services in Northamptonshire already operate shared fire and police stations, while the county’s chief fire officer and his senior management team are both based at Wootton Hall.