Police and fire to share joint command vehicle

A new concept ‘joint command vehicle’ has been commissioned by the Northamptonshire police and fire and rescue services, which it is believed will be the only one of its kind in the UK.

Apr 6, 2016
By Paul Jacques

A new concept ‘joint command vehicle’ has been commissioned by the Northamptonshire police and fire and rescue services, which it is believed will be the only one of its kind in the UK.

It will provide a private and secure communications network, supporting real-time data, video and voice transfer between police, fire and other emergency responders at large-scale or major incidents.

Group Commander Philip Pells, of the Joint Operations Team for Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), said: “The joint command unit (JCU) provides a unique command and control capability, enabling both fire and police officers to work together in a single vehicle.

“It also supports coordinated working with other agencies involved in an incident.

“This, together with the integration of resilient communications platforms and other technologies, enables the JCU to be the access point providing the highest level of situation awareness of an incident for all commanders and specialist responders, whether on scene or at a remote location.”

Its features will include:

•Joint working space for police and fire operations, including a command conference room for joint tactical coordination;

•The ability to receive and view footage from remote deployable static cameras, body-worn cameras, an unmanned aerial system and the police helicopter;

•Resilient communication technologies providing interoperability with East Midlands Ambulance Service ‘Hazardous Area Response Team’ command vehicles; and

•Networks compatible with the Emergency Services Network – the next generation system that will support voice communications, data and video sharing across the emergency services.

The tender for its construction has now been awarded to John Dennis Coachbuilders, Spectra Specialist Engineering and Excelerate Technology, which will work together to build and equip the unit.

David Savage, chief executive officer of Excelerate Technology, which is providing ICT integration and satellite communications for the unit, said: “With the Government’s drive towards greater collaboration and sharing of resources across the emergency services, this new concept, ‘super’ JCU is at the forefront of this transition.”

Richard Hayes, technical sales director at coachbuilders Spectra Specialist Engineering, said the vehicle was a “one-off”, adding: “As far as I know there is no vehicle operating in the UK that has the same characteristics and operating capabilities as this one.”

Alan McClafferty, managing director at John Dennis Coachbuilders, said the “state-of-the-art technology-packaged” JCU was “an excellent example of the closer cooperation and shared effectiveness of emergency services”.

The vehicle is being funded by a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

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