A GROUND-breaking emergency services station in Bromsgrove has been officially opened by a royal visitor.

The town's new joint police and fire station was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra - the Queen's cousin, on Thursday, October 30.

She was welcomed to the station by local dignitaries including Chief Constable David Shaw, Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore, Chief Fire Officer of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority Mark Yates and chairman of the authority Councillor Derek Prodger MBE.

HRH first toured the fire station part of the multi-million pound facility in School Drive. She met firefighters, viewed fire engines and equipment before talking to volunteers and young firefighters about their work and roles.

Princess Alexandra then toured the police facilities to meet staff members, volunteers, partners and community recipients including the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

She met staff involved in youth engagement and cadet activities, officers responsible for road policing and representatives from the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership.

HRH unveiled a commemorative plaque to officially open the facility, the first project delivered under the Worcestershire Capital Asset Pathfinder initiative. This looked into how combining public services such as police and fire and rescue, in one location, can lead to better services, increased value for money and efficiency.

It has also been designed as a green building including solar panels contributing to heating and electricity and rain water being harvested to provide filtered water to the building, all helping to reduce annual running costs by up to 25 per cent.

Chief Constable David Shaw said: “Being in the same building brings together specialist knowledge from both organisations and since moving into the new building in 2014, there have been many occasions when this has been extremely beneficial."

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service added: “We already have a close working relationship with West Mercia Police and being stationed together is only cementing that further.

“It gives us greater joint training opportunities and will help us improve the management of incident scenes. It also is an excellent use of scarce resources in the current climate of reduced budgets.

"The official opening is the culmination of a lot of hard work."