Headlines: March 19th, 1999

Police forces have been urged by the Audit Commission to look at the impact of joint working with other public bodies on their need for buildings. The Commission’s report highlights the way that innovative approaches to sharing facilities with other emergency services and local agencies can improve partnerships.

Pilot joint call centres have been set up to assess the effect of combining the resources of Police, Fire and Ambulance services to reduce the time it takes for emergency help to arrive. The pilots have been funded by the Invest to Save budget which has 230 million pounds for the three years starting in April 1999.

Other examples of sharing facilities include making police buildings available to others when not otherwise in use. A police station in Somerset is used a base for community policing, but was not open during the day. As a result of a partnership with the local authorities it is now open all day as a police and community information office.

Other recommendations by the Commission include: preparing a property strategy, assessing the most suitable locations for public contact points and seeking the views of local people on how they would prefer to access police services.

Information provided by Horn Ltd, suppliers of specialist police information www.Horn.ltd.uk