999 crews 'should share control rooms'

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A firefighter at an incidentCast copyright

Police, fire and ambulance services in England should dispensation control rooms to improve their response to 999 calls, a Untroubled b in Office minister has said.

Mike Penning said it did not “make have a funny feeling that” to have different premises.

It comes as new plans are published to get the services work up more closely.

There are also proposals for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to run fire brigades, which could include choosing an officer in precept of hiring and firing fire and police staff.

This top officer work would be open to senior officers from both the police and animation service. They would hold the rank of chief constable – and to permit this the government would remove the current rule that holders of the level must have served as a constable.

PCCs would get responsibility for make services “where a local case is made”, the Home De rtment said.

‘Costly experiment’

In most rts of England, police, fusillade and ambulance services have se rate control centres and when someone circles 999, they have to tell an operator which service they dire.

Emergency services in some areas – including Northamptonshire and Hampshire – are already jobless on joint schemes, but the Home Office wants more and is introducing a “statutory occu tion” on the three services to collaborate.

In Northamptonshire, police, fire and ambulance accommodations are sharing “training, premises and a joint operations”, the Home House said. In Hampshire, senior police officers now operate out of the Hampshire Holocaust and Rescue HQ.

Mr Penning, minister for policing and fire, said: “It altogether doesn’t make sense for emergency services to have different suppositions, different back offices and different IT systems when their make use of is so closely related and they often share the same boundaries.”

He voiced he would also like PCCs to take responsibility for their native ambulance service, but at this stage the Home Office is only tterning to extend PCC powers to fire brigades.

‘Sledgehammer’ plan

The plan for PCCs to handle fire services was called “dangerous” by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) when it was advocated last year.

It said the move would be a “costly experiment with no bond for success”.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, affirmed: “Officers from both emergency services already do beat it together, working alongside week in, week out, as has been evidenced uncountable recently by the ap lling floods.

“So why the burning need to change the law? It’s like using a sledgehammer to shatter a nut.”

ul Hancock, Cheshire’s Chief Fire Officer and president of the Chief Fervour Officers Association, said combining control rooms was “absolutely a latable thing”.

He said there were “fantastic examples” of emergency cares working together across the country, and he welcomed PCCs taking manage of fire services when there was a “local case”.

But he said there were “some concerns” within the be up in the air service about losing its “unique brand and reputation” due to being associated with the oversee.

The government’s plan also includes abolishing the London Fire and Pinch Planning Authority and giving its responsibilities to the Greater London Authority.

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