Fire and Police Partnership
An innovative partnership between Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent Police will bring a more resilient and efficient 999 service for the people of Kent and Medway.
Kent Police Authority has today agreed a proposal to co-locate Kent Fire and Rescue Serice's (KFRS) 999 control room to the Kent Police control room by February 2012.
The majority of the systems and equipment needed to operate are already there as police already provide the standby arrangements for KFRS.
Ann Barnes, Chair of Kent Police Authority, said: "Our Authority members are very happy to sign-off on this proposal to co-locate Kent Fire and Rescue Service's 999 control room to the Kent Police headquarters' control room. This will mean closer force and service working arrangements. This opportunity for closer collaboration offers greater convenience for information exchange that means an even higher quality of emergency service to the people of Kent."
KFRS Director of Operations, Steve Demetriou, said: "Kent Police is a natural partner in delivering this important service that will deliver real improvements both in terms of resilience, efficiency and practical joint working with police during major emergencies.
"We already use Kent Police HQ as our backup mobilising facility. As far as the public are concerned they will notice no difference to the excellent service we already deliver. Calls will be answered by KFRS staff in line with our current operating arrangements, however behind the scenes we will have a much more resilient and effective operation."
Andy Adams,Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable, said: "This is very good news for both organisations that will result in even closer joint working. Experience has shown the considerable benefits that this arrangement will bring to both services, especially during major incidents, and because the infrastructure is already in place, the co-location can go ahead with the minimum of disruption."
KFRS had to review its options following the cancellation of the government's Fire Control project in December 2011, which would have seen a move of the control function to a regional base in Hampshire.
The plan to co-locate Kent Fire and Rescue Service's control at Kent Police HQ in Maidstone will:
- Keep the control function for KFRS within the county.
- Be a huge step forward in implementing the lessons learnt from enquires including the 7th July London terrorism attack and the Cumbria shootings, which highlighted a need for emergency services such as police and fire to work more closely during emergencies.
- Allow KFRS to have greater access to the Airwave communications network used by police in emergency situations. It will also allow KFRS to have access to the countywide CCTV network when dealing with incidents.
- Minimise the impact on KFRS staff, who will be working just a couple of miles from their current base.
- Provide a modern and enhanced mobilising system (that allows control staff to ensure they can move fire engines and staff to cover the county) at the best price for local taxpayers. The current KFRS mobilising system is 13 years old and is long overdue for replacement, but this could not be done while the government's plan to move to a regionally based control system was still underway.
- Provide an efficient and effective service for local taxpayers and address the issues of falling demand - KFRS attends 25% fewer incidents than it did five years ago.