SOUTH Yorkshire’s first joint fire and police station has been officially opened in Rotherham, with the pledge that it will see money saved and skills shared.
The facility in Maltby has been up and running since last October but was formally opened on Monday in front of dignitaries, staff and school children by the Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire, Mr Andrew Coombe.
Guests of honour included primary school pupils from Maltby Manor Academy, who had taken part in a drawing competition to reflect the work of the emergency services.
Contest winner Liana Hatfield had her artwork unveiled as part of the ceremony and the drawing will now be displayed permanently at the station, which was launched to help cut costs and enable fire and police officers to work together.
Guests and pupils were also given the chance to see firefighters demonstrating how trapped casualties are rescued after accidents and had the chance to look at some of the equipment used.
Chief fire officer James Courtney said: “This new facility is the first of its kind in South Yorkshire and represents the best possible, physical example of our commitment to work more closely with our emergency service partners.
“By working alongside each other under one roof, we think the move will benefit both organisations by improving how we work together to solve problems we both face, which can only help to improve the quality of the service we offer to local people.”
South Yorkshire Fire Authority chair, Cllr Linda Burgess, said the authority had always been clear that collaboration should be about more than badges on buildings and saving money, with the community at the heart of its decisions.
“With this in mind, I am pleased to see the completion of the first joint police and fire station in South Yorkshire, not just as a symbol of the joint work the fire service is leading on with the police, but also because of the benefits I expect it to bring to both organisations and the community itself,” she said.
The project to build the new facility on Byford Road won Government Transformation Funding of £560,000 and means South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue can share running costs.
The move has shifted fire service resources around a mile closer to the east side of Rotherham, which traditionally accounts for a greater volume of emergency incidents compared to lower risk areas to the east of Maltby.
It is also hoped that police and firefighters will be able to share their skills and expertise around common issues, like anti-social behaviour and road collisions.
South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings, said the new station “offers a number of positive opportunities” to work together.
“This new cost-effective way of working will allow agencies to share information and work better together,” he said.
“The building will help reduce overheads to both organisations at a time when, the taxpayers want to see their money being spent on the safety of South Yorkshire residents and not on buildings and their running costs.”
The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new, statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Chief Supt Rob Odell said: “I’m delighted to see the official opening of the station and to see members of our community involved in the event.
“This is a great opportunity for us to share resources, knowledge and expertise with our colleagues in the fire service.”