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Police chief's reassurance over fallback control room plans

Suffolk police contact and control room  Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

Suffolk police contact and control room Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE

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Suffolk's chief of police has made reassurances that the force has a well-prepared and well-rehearsed backup plan should the county's control room suffer a critical system failure.

Chief Constable Steve Jupp said he had full confidence in back-up plans - in response to an audit report highlighting concern about a training block classroom at Martlesham Heath headquarters being used in the event of a short-term issue - and therefore presenting a potential single point of failure.

The contact and control room (CCR) deals with 999 calls, non-urgent enquiries and communication with officers on the ground - 24 hours a day.

Fallback facilities are used at times of spate conditions or system failure to prevent delays in dealing with emergencies and guarantee continued service.

However, an internal audit report questioned the suitability of the back-up CCR being located on the same site.

It said: "There is a risk that, if the main Suffolk headquarters site is not available, then the classroom would also not be available."

A second report said the current back-up location "would not be practical", in the short term, in the event of a critical incident, such as technical failure or environmental disaster.

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Mr Jupp attended a meeting of the police and crime commissioner's audit committee to offer assurances - pointing out that plans were robust enough to ensure continue service.

Following the meeting, he said: "I have full confidence in our back-up plans should Suffolk's control room suffer a critical incident, such as a technical failure or environmental disaster.

"During an audit committee meeting last week, I addressed an issue that was highlighted by one of the auditors.

"The auditors wanted an assurance, which I gave them, that the fall-back plan for Suffolk was a well-prepared and well-rehearsed operation.

"I told them that our plan would be to us a facility in Norfolk should we suffer a critical incident which affects Martlesham HQ.

"The original concern was solely about a classroom at headquarters being used if there was a short-term issue.

"I gave reassurances our business continuity plans are comprehensive and robust enough to ensure we would retain our 999 and 101 capabilities, and as a consequence we would be able to provide an appropriate level of service to the public.

"This was recognised and accepted by the auditors, and the committee was absolutely reassured by the commitments I had given."

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