In 2016, the Northamptonshire Joint Operations Team introduced their Joint Command Unit (JCU), revolutionising emergency response within the county. This innovative collaboration between Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue and Northamptonshire Police streamlines command and control processes during both live incidents and pre-planned events.

Since its inception, the JCU have significantly enhanced operational efficiency and effectiveness across various emergency scenarios including managing large-scale events like the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

In this video, Station Commander, Nick Gayton sheds light on the integration of advanced technologies within their operations.

An overview of the Joint Command Unit

Resilient communications: The JCU has a strong communication setup, ensuring connectivity even in challenging areas. It uses cellular technology including an Excell 4G LTE optimisation antenna to stay connected to mobile networks. Additionally, it has a satellite receiver on the roof for continuous connectivity. The vehicle generates its own private network for operators to use tablets, computers, and other devices, making coordination easier.

Real-time video streaming: The unit has a camera on the roof providing a full view around the vehicle with enhanced zoom functionality. There is also a rapid deploy camera for monitoring areas up to a kilometre away. Video feeds from body-worn cameras, drones and the police helicopter can also stream real-time footage to the vehicle building a full picture of any situation. What’s more, video can be accessed and shared not only from the vehicle, but from any authorised device on or off-site for enhanced situational awareness.

Command Unit

Ease of use: The onboard Digital Dashboard Management Interface (DDMI) plays a crucial role in automating functions onboard for rapid deployment. With DDMI, operators have complete control of the vehicle and can display various sources of information effortlessly. The user-friendly interface streamlines operations, offering one-button operation for key systems like the mast, satellite, and power systems. This automation allows operators to focus on their tasks promptly, maximising efficiency during critical situations.

Multi-agency collaboration: One of the most significant advantages of the JCU is its size and ability to host multiple agencies during large-scale incidents. By co-locating commanders and other cooperating responders, the unit facilitates real-time communication and decision-making, significantly enhancing operational efficiency. Video conferencing capabilities further extend this collaboration, enabling seamless communication with force control rooms and service headquarters.

Next generation fire appliances

During an incident, it’s crucial for firefighters to stay in touch and share updates. The integrated Excell 4G LTE antennas onboard Northamptonshire’s newer generation of fire appliances help make this possible, even in areas of poor connectivity. This is especially useful during large-scale incidents where both the JCU and fire appliances are needed. This integration underscores the importance of interoperable technology in maximising the effectiveness of emergency services, especially in high-pressure scenarios requiring coordinated multi-agency efforts.

Fire appliance

Commitment to innovation

As technology continues to evolve, the Northamptonshire Joint Operations Team remains committed to staying at the forefront of innovation in emergency response. The continuous integration of advanced technologies ensures that responders are equipped with the tools and capabilities necessary to effectively mitigate emergencies and safeguard the community.

For more information get in touch