MORE than £700,000 of public money will be saved a year thanks to the creation of a new police and fire transport maintenance centre in Staffordshire.
The centre will be fully operational later this year and forms part of the strategy to see police and fire services working more closely and effectively together.
The joint maintenance centre is part of work by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire Authority to deliver better value for money and better services for people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The centre sees police and fire vehicles being repaired and serviced at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s vehicle maintenance facility in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent. As well as the vehicle maintenance, joint procurement for vehicle purchasing will also be aligned between the fire and police service.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire Matthew Ellis has agreed funding of £1.2 million to get the transport maintenance centre ready. The centre will save Staffordshire Police around £738,000 a year. It is also anticipated to more than halve the time police vehicles are off the road for servicing or repair in the future.
The new combined service will be more flexible with mobile technicians as well as a central workshop to carry out some elements of service and repair across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The joint maintenance centre will be fully operational before the end of the year.
Mr Ellis said: “This is about spending public money better and ensuring more money goes towards frontline police and fire services. The joint maintenance centre, which is managed through a single transport manager, is an example of a fully integrated service.
“This is a common sense way of saving money and improving services at the same time by getting rid of duplication and sharing expertise. It is a template for what could be done across public sector organisations across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Councillor Stephen Sweeney, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working that will result in substantial savings for the residents of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The joint project will enable the fire and rescue service and the police to be even more efficient and effective while continuing to provide a first class service to our communities.
“A lot of hard work has gone on between the partners in order to reach this point and we are committed to delivering an ambitious joint venture.”