12 Oct 2011

Merging emergency providers

The recent UK riots greatly stretched the resources of our emergency services. Fire, police and ambulance providers were forced to react to a very modern kind of state of emergency. Two months later, lessons have been learned and new action plans shaped.

Lothian & Borders Police made the decision to create a Twitter account during the riots and Greater Manchester Police’s Twitter account was highly praised for keeping the public up to date with riot news.

But it’s not just virtual changes: physical changes are also being made to the way the emergency services react to situations.

Following the successful establishment of a combined command fire and police control room during the riots, Merseyside’s fire, police and rescue services are considering a merge under proposals put forward by Merseyside Police. The new centre would cover Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said the idea proved effective but that the proposal is still in its early days, with all parties needing to test the viability of such a project.

If Merseyside Police is successful in its scheme, perhaps we could see further shared services across the emergency sector. Aside from the impact such joint operations could have on efficiency and communication, the implications for emergency service procurement are potentially far reaching.

Future merges could mean changes in tendering choices in everything from IT contracts to office furnishings and uniforms.