ots-princess anne southport ots onthespot ots
Yesterday ​​(Tuesday, 16 December) Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened Merseyside’s new joint Police and Fire Command and Control Centre (JCC) situated at Bridle Road in Bootle.

The centre is based at the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service headquarters and is a mixture of a new build and refurbishment of the current building.​​

The co-location of the fire and police control room functions provides an exciting opportunity to deliver a more efficient and effective service to the public. Both emergency services share site infrastructure and facilities with the potential for sharing of technology solutions in the longer term.​

Two Merseyside Police officers on horseback, wearing full regalia, along with four police officers and four fire officers in undress uniform provided the guard of honour for The Princess Royal. ​

Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens , Chief Constable Jon Murphy and Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling formally welcomed HRH and invited her to open the building and take a tour.​

Princess Anne and her party had a tour of the centre that included visiting the police and fire control rooms as well as meeting staff including operational planning teams who are also co-located at the JCC. Princess Anne also met the Chair of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Dave Hanratty, as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jane Kennedy and the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Merseyside.​

During her visit she spoke of how impressed he had been with the centre and the value of all of the emergency service staff working there.

Following the tour HRH unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion and said: “I know how difficult these centres are to bring together…and I congratulate the total of you who have been involved and I’m glad I have been in here for just a little while to find out how it really works”.​

The HRH was also presented with posies of flowers by Serena Garcia, 5, whose mum works in the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Control Room and Millie Greenop, 13, whose mother works for Merseyside Police.​

Two antique fire appliances, the Dennis F8 built in the 1950s and the open Albion from the 1940s, were also on display for the Princess Royal to see before she left the site.

The Joint Control Centre (JCC) now houses Merseyside Police’s Force Contact Centre handling nearly 1.1 million telephone calls from the public each year including those to 101, general enquiries and 280,000 via the 999 emergency number. It also houses Merseyside Police’s Force Control which allocates personnel to respond to incidents, previously these functions were located at five separate sites across Merseyside.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service previously had their Fire Control, which deals with some 100,000 calls annually, located in premises built in 1960 as the headquarter’s station of the Liverpool Salvage Corps on Derby Road in Kirkdale. Following the disbanding of the Corps in 1984 it passed to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. The new Fire Control went live at the JCC on July 1, 2014.

In addition to the Contact Centre, Force Control and Fire Control, the JCC premises also provide accommodation which for the first time allows the co-location of MF&RS, Merseyside Police, and the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) Operational Planning teams.

The overall cost of the project including refurbishment of the existing Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority site was £7.6 million and was funded by Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. A contract was signed in March 2013 on the project and the two-storey premises was completed in 2014.

It is one of the first buildings of its type in the country.

Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens said: “This is a momentous occasion marking a real milestone for the emergency services on Merseyside. The centre has excellent facilities including dedicated Strategic and Tactical Co-ordination Group meeting rooms for use during major incidents. The JCC will undoubtedly be a significant asset to us and Merseyside Police in the future. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority opted for a Merseyside solution that would keep jobs on Merseyside. The Fire and Rescue Authority received a Government grant of £1.8 million towards the build of the Joint Control Centre.”

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling, said: “The provision of this building is a great example of partnership working, and we are seeing clear operational and financial benefits of working alongside our Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service colleagues in this new building. I am delighted that Her Royal Highness was able to join us to celebrate the official opening of the centre.  It is a place from which we can deliver our vision of working in partnership to make Merseyside safer.”

The move to the Joint Command Centre is a major success story for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and Merseyside Police and – most importantly – the people of Merseyside.​

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I am delighted that Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, was able to give her time to officially open the new Joint Command and Control Centre.

“The opening of this centre is a major success story for Merseyside Police and the Fire and Rescue Service who are both committed to ensuring that, at times of need, the public in our region receive the best possible care and support.

​“This centre is a very good example of how they are working together to serve people on Merseyside and ensure our region remains one of the safest places in the country to live, work and visit.”

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