Construction starts on state-of-the-art police and fire Operations Communications Centre
Building work has started on a new state-of-the-art Operations Communications Centre (OCC), which will improve emergency services across Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire.
At a turf cutting ceremony this morning, construction on the £23.5 million project was officially started by the Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham and Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS).
The new facility will be shared between the police and the fire service. Changes in technology, telecoms, estates and culture will mean officers and staff can work more efficiently and effectively. For the public, it will mean improved responses to emergencies and better opportunities to stay up to date on progress. The build is being project managed by Place Partnership.
Having shared facilities allows for a faster, more effective response to incidents which require both services and helps reduce overheads for both services.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said "I promised our communities I would improve police responses and work in partnership to achieve better value for public money. I also promised that I would reform and modernise West Mercia Police, giving its officers and staff the tools to do their jobs more effectively. This project demonstrates how I am delivering on those promises. It is a major step forward for our police and I will ensure this investment delivers the improvements our communities need."
West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: "The new OCC is a significant milestone in realising our vision for a completely modernised police force. This is about more than the building itself; the changes to technology will bring major improvements in our ability to respond to incidents and revolutionise the way our communities can interact with us. We are committed to protecting people from harm, and this exciting next step will help us to achieve this and ensure the public gets the right service first time."
Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said "I am delighted that work on the new joint OCC building has now commenced and look forward to another joint venture with our police colleagues. We anticipate that co-locating our Fire Control staff with the police will result in improved working relationships, the improved management of incidents through joint sharing of intelligence and data, and ultimately a better service for the public."
Chairman of the Fire Authority Derek Prodger said: "The new OCC building is sure to provide a great asset to both the Fire Service and West Mercia Police and I very much look forward to seeing the finished building next year."