Review published on how the police, fire and ambulance services work together during major incidents  

[HMIC press release]

The review led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that coherent and routine working is yet to be embedded across the police, fire and ambulance services. There were some isolated but positive examples, but a highly inconsistent national picture.

The Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) was established to ensure the blue light services worked together effectively to protect the public, in particular during major incidents or events.

In January 2015, HMIC was commissioned by the JESIP Ministerial Board to lead a review of the level the JESIP was embedded across the emergency services. The Review can be read here.

HMIC led this review in conjunction with Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser Peter Holland CBE, and Dr Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Fieldwork was carried out in ambulance trusts, police forces and fire and rescue services across the country.  HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:

“Events over recent years have shown the need for the emergency services to operate together as effectively as possible during major, serious or catastrophic incidents or events. The public expects no less.

All three services across the country recognise the importance of interoperability and consider that JESIP provides a welcome focus and structure to develop the associated skills. As all have very different historical backgrounds, working practices and cultures, improving interoperability has been and will remain a challenge.

The review found that whilst a great deal has already been done to improve the way that the services operate together there is still further work needed to ensure that JESIP becomes fully embedded.”

The review includes recommendations for the emergency services to improve interoperability, for example:

  • JESIP needs to be part of the initial and continuation training and shared across the wider responder community such as the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and Border Agency.
  • Central guidance and direction should be implemented to provide the focus and drive to ensure JESIP remains a high priority.
  • There needs to be a greater knowledge and understanding of the capabilities of ‘Airwave’ and the use of the interoperable channels at incidents.

The full Review is available here.