The Sunderland City Alarm and Emergency Centre has found a new home at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue headquarters after 20 years in the defunct Sunderland Civic Centre.
The centre provides 24/7 CCTV cover with cameras across the city, which bosses say provides an invaluable means for key organisations such as Sunderland City Council and the emergency services to work closely together to help keep people safe and respond to incidents.
TWFRS say the centre is all about prevention, observation and awareness and Peter Heath, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, believes the initiative between the fire service and council is fantastic for the city.
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He said: “It’s a fantastic initiative. It see’s the best use of public space and gives a good location for the council, emergency services and allows us to work with our partners across police, fire, ambulance and all local authorities to help keep communities safe.
“Without a good relationship with the local authority, quite simply the public would not get the services they deserve. Our relationships are longstanding, strong and this cements them for the future.”
The centre can also assist in the surveillance of hotspot areas and issues relating to crime and disorder including antisocial behaviour; the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other crimes like shoplifting.
Chief Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “We’re really excited about the new facility. CCTV plays an absolutely vital role in what we do, providing reassurance to the public, identifying vulnerabilities and most importantly having a deterrent effect.”
The previous emergency centre was located at Sunderland Civic Centre, which is being demolished after the council moved into the new City Hall complex.
And the update is a significant improvement, according to Councillor Kevin Johnston, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Dynamic City.
He said: “The technology has obviously been updated, it’s really been brought up to date in terms of what we can use to support our emergency services, not just in anti-social behaviour and crime but in support of any incident happening across the city.
“Working closely with partners is a key part of this work and the City Alarm and Emergency Centre has proved its worth time and time again.”