A review is to be carried out on all the buildings in the joint Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue estate to ensure that they are affordable, meet organisational needs and provide best value in the current economic climate.
Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service are facing increased running and maintenance costs, as well as supply chain issues in parts and supplies.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has initiated a review to ensure offices and other buildings are cost effective, support both organisations in their mission to keep the public safe and provide best value for the taxpayer.
Plans to create a new joint garage workshop in a building in Earls Barton will not now go ahead. Costs of the building project have increased – from £6 million to £16 million – and while bringing both police and fire fleet and garage teams together in one facility is still planned and will provide significant business benefits, the costs of carrying out the development outweigh those benefits.
The building will be sold, and work will continue to find other ways to bring both teams together.
At the same time, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has asked for a wholesale review of the estate to ensure it gives value for money against a background of rising costs and changed ways of working since the pandemic.
The Estates strategy is reviewed regularly but this review has been brought forward and will take place as a matter of urgency because of the changed circumstances.
The Chief Constable has already identified five police ‘boxes’ and a house that are operationally surplus and have no operational police officers assigned to them as a main location but are mainly used as an occasional drop-in site. These will be put on the market and further efforts will be made to dispose of the old stations at Kettering and Corby as soon as possible.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am proud that in Northamptonshire, we take our responsibility to the taxpayer very seriously and have managed our money well and balanced our budgets. We have created joint services where it makes sense to do so and continue to look for efficiencies.
“But the core role of both Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is to keep people safe and so we need to ensure our that our buildings support that work and that the costs do not outweigh the benefits.
“More joined up working is essential, and I will continue to expect more progress in that area, while continually reviewing our plans to ensure they make sense in our changing economic climate.”