Plans to create three police command centres revealed by Warwickshire commissioner

By David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter

27th Jun 2022 | Local News

Only two of the command centres will actually have cell blocks
Only two of the command centres will actually have cell blocks

Warwickshire's police and crime commissioner has outlined the case for establishing three separate command centres across the county to boost community engagement.

But he confirmed that only two of these will have cell blocks with no plans to reopen a refurbished one in Rugby.

Philip Seccombe was speaking at the latest Warwickshire police and crime panel, explaining some of the changes taking place under the 'Empower' transformation programme which aims to introduce new technology benefits while carrying out an operational review.

He told the meeting: "The one big structural change is that at the moment, Warwickshire Police is run as a central force with central resource dispatched to various parts of the county. 

"The Empower programme is going to create three separate commands of the North, the South and the East [Rugby].

"There will be a chief inspector in command of all the local policing assets within that area and one of his main jobs will be to engage with communities – to listen and act upon thoughts and requests. 

"I think that is a really good thing to do, I am a believer in small rather than big. I think the community safety partnerships will benefit and district and county councillors will benefit as they will have more of a go to person in their area to hold to account.

"It is a huge programme but will be in place by the end of this financial year. It is cost neutral but will reprioritise some of those areas that are of concern to our communities."

Panel member Cllr Derek Poole, from Rugby Borough Council, said the decision of the three centres had come as a surprise.

He told the meeting: "I was amazed when the officer from Rugby told us about North, South and East. I was further amazed when I was told there were cell blocks in the North and South and yet in Rugby, where the police have spent £1million over the last few years modernising the custody suite, she [Chief Constable Debbie Tedds] won't open it.

"Our officers have to take their prisoners to Nuneaton. There is the cost of fuel, officers' time, wear and tear on the cars – and yet the chief constable is adamant that she will not open the Rugby cell block. Personally I think it is the wrong idea. It is taxpayers money."

Mr Seccombe said he had been asking the same question for six years and of the previous chief constable.

He added: "While you are quite right that there was a lot of capital spent on that one at Rugby, it would cost a whole lot more to bring it up to modern day standards of health and safety. And, of course, the cost of running it is enormous."

     

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