Cleveland Police to take back control room sooner than expected
Cleveland Police has announced that its force control room will transfer back from private company Sopra Steria on May 1 as part of its transformation programme.
Police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger decided last year that the contract for 999 and 101 calls would not be extended past its natural end in October 2020, but the systems will now be brought back sooner than planned to allow senior officers to bring in the necessary changes to support frontline policing.
The decision to return the control room to Cleveland Police has been made in mutual agreement with Sopra Steria with all parties agreeing that it is the right step to manage the current demands, the force said.
All control room staff, including call handlers, that are directly employed by Sopra Steria will be transferred across to Cleveland Police.
Assistant Chief Officer Brian Thomas said: “The control room is at the heart of our daily interactions with the public and the way people want to communicate with us has changed over time. By bringing the control room back in-house this year we can implement changes with increased flexibility to help us meet the demands that we face and our responsibilities to local people.
“We have a good partnership with Sopra Steria and they have assisted us with achieving financial savings over the term of the contract.”
Mr Coppinger added: “We began our partnership with Sopra Steria nearly a decade ago and since 2010 the numbers of emergency calls into Cleveland Police has risen dramatically over recent years. The force received 23,000 more 999 calls in 2018 than in 2010, an increase of 28 per cent.
“I am committed to refocusing and boosting the control room and support the early return back to the force, which will allow for a renewed way of working in these current times.”
Earlier this month Cleveland Police said it was struggling to staff its 999 response teams after an increase in major crime incidents – there were 12 murder inquiries launched in 2018. At the same time, almost 500 officers have left the UK’s smallest force since 2010.
Sopra Steria took over running services such as human resources functions, estates, control room functions and IT for Cleveland under cost-cutting measures introduced in 2010. In recent months the force has been carrying out ‘due diligence’ on how it performs in the future and had been planning how it will deliver the services when the contract comes to an end in 2020.
According to Sopra Steria it has delivered £70 million of cost savings since 2010, with a further £2 million a year since 2016 when the contract was rewritten.