Sunday, December 4, 2022
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Essex firefighters may be called to guard crime scenes in Thurrock

ESSEX firefighters could be called upon to guard crime scenes and carry out searches as part of a plan to integrate the emergency services.

This could include the fire service joining with other “blue light” organisations so that ambulance and police staff could operate from ECFRS stations.

The first stage of the Fire Service’s Integrated Risk Management Plan addressed the issues facing the fire service over the next five years.

The fire service say there was support for taking on a preventative role, but less support for proposals which would result in a reduction of "operational resources".

Responses to this consultation will now be used to help create a series of specific options for change which will be consulted on in the New Year.

Acting Chief Fire Officer, Adam Eckley, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part in the IRMP consultation.

“Everything we’ve learned will be very useful to us as we go forward to the next stage of consultation which will look at more specific proposals for change.

“This was an important first step in the biggest consultation we have ever undertaken. Over the next five years we expect to see huge changes in the way we work and the environment we operate in.

“By planning now we can make sure that we are ready to face that challenge.

“There is still an opportunity for everyone to get involved in helping us create the options for change as we are asking for your ideas as part of the process.”

In September last year the fire service announced it was going to trial joint roles between PCSO and retained firefighters in rural locations.

This trial is due to continue through meetings between senior officers of both emergency services.

A Fire Authority agenda from October 7 stated the service could create “intervention officers” to work closer with Essex Police to tackle cyber-crime, child exploitation, slavery, potential counter terrorism and share intelligence such as crime data via the new Athena system.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service could be called upon to man road blocks, conduct searches and carry out road diversions.

Fire officers could also trial body worn cameras and recording technology, similar to the kind Essex Police use to attend domestic abuse incidents.

The Government has stated it intends to enable Police and Crime Commissioners to take on the responsibilities of the fire and rescue authority in their area.

Throughout the consultation period, which ran from June 15 to September 6, 572 people shared their opinion on how they would like to see the service set its priorities for the future.

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