The police, fire service and ambulance service came together last night (15 Nov) for a live exercise designed to test each agency’s ability to work together at major incidents.
The exercise was part of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) which was set up nationally to improve the way the emergency services work together to respond to multi-agency incidents.
Last night, officers from Cumbria Constabulary were joined by Cumbria Fire and Rescue and North West Ambulance Service as the three agencies ran through a number of scenarios over a two-and-a-half hour period at the headquarters of Cumbria Constabulary and Cumbria Fire and Rescue.
Chief Inspector Andy Wilkinson said: “Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria Fire and Rescue and North West Ambulance Service are working closer together than ever before.
“Exercises such as this are invaluable in helping to ensure that when a multi-agency incident does occur, everyone knows what each agency is doing, how they go about their work and what can be done by each agency to help the response run as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“The scenarios put men and women from all three agencies into high-pressure situations. But they are situations they may one day face and so the experience can prove invaluable.”
For the police, the primary objective of the exercise was to test the response to public order incidents. The first scenario involved a protest, with Cumbria Police Cadets joining plain-clothed officers in acting in the role of protesters.
The second scenario, held at Cumbria Fire and Rescue, simulated the scene of a serious road traffic collision involving pedestrians, with police first on the scene, quickly followed by paramedics and Cumbria Fire and Rescue. Cumbria Police’s role also involved keeping the scene secure under pressure from aggrieved on-lookers.
The final scenario saw officers responding to a major public order incident which began with aggressive chanting, leading to brick throwing (simulated with wooden blocks) and concluding with the use of petrol bombs.
Ch Insp Wilkinson said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in the exercise from all three agencies, including all those involved in the planning – particularly Proactive Support Group Inspector Kim Brennand – as well as all those who took part yesterday evening.
“The high-level of knowledge and professionalism on display from all agencies in this complex and evolving, tri-services exercise, involving live-time deployment, was impressive to witness.
“I’d finally like to thank the young volunteer police cadets who took part and did a great job giving our officers a hard time last night!”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “Exercises such as this are an opportunity for everyone to work together and test plans and procedures to ensure seamless multi agency teamwork when major incidents occur.
“Multi-agency incident training, using high-pressure scenarios and live-time deployment is essential. If similar real life incidents occur, the police, fire and ambulance services have experience of how to work effectively with each other as one response unit.”