The lack of joint training opportunities is preventing the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services in the UK from working together as effectively as possible, according to the findings of a report.

The new survey by Skills for Justice, undertaken in partnership with the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP), reveals that blue light emergency workers should take part in more joint training.

And while 79 per cent of the 1923 emergency service employees questioned said their organisation was interoperable with other emergency services in their area, 95 per cent said a lack of joint training was a barrier to effective interoperability.

As well as taking place infrequently, joint training opportunities are unevenly distributed between the various levels of command within the emergency services. Strategic leads are much more likely to receive joint training with 61 per cent of these ‘gold commanders’ undertaking joint training at least once a year, compared to just 50 per cent of ‘silver’ tactical workers and 22 per cent of ‘bronze’ operational colleagues.

Staff working for the ambulance service are more likely to get joint training opportunities with 17 percent taking part every few months compared to nine percent of fire and rescue and seven percent of police staff.

Joint Training Exercise

Some 56 per cent of those surveyed also feel that learning from complex and major incidents is not shared between other agencies and services and 95 per cent of respondents thought that a move to a single joint decision making model would support interoperability.

The report’s authors now recommend that nationally-developed and funded joint training opportunities should be provided for responders, particularly for those working in ‘bronze’ operational roles.

They also recommend standardising joint decision-making and intelligence gathering models, as well as national funding for equipment procurement. It suggests that a national interactive collaboration tool could be aimed at supporting the development of collaborative learning programmes to ensure that the needs of the three emergency services are met.