Fire services ‘wasted millions on new look control centres’

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Thanks for Retuning!

The nine control centres have left taxpayers footing a rent bill of more than ?1 million a month: Photo: ALAMY

Nine regional “super control centres” built to replace smaller units have been empty for up to three years partly because of problems with IT systems. Taxpayers have been left footing a rent bill of more than a £1 million a month.

The nine control centres were constructed as part of a government project, known as FiReControl, to revamp and regionalise the fire service and reduce the number of centres that handled emergency calls.

Scheduled to cost around £340?million, costs have since swollen to £423? million.

The centres were established after concerns were raised about the lack of capabilities for authorities to react to major disasters.

However, some problems with computer systems, installed by European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) mean certain new centres may not be in operation until 2013.

It is believed the delays have been caused by a combination of factors including government negotiations and problems with the IT systems.

It is understood the number of centres were built due to “political reasons”.

One source said: “You can save money by having less centres.”

A spokesman for EADS said: “The control centres are now being properly populated with kit and IT.

“The centres are not empty simply because of problems with the IT systems. It goes beyond that.

“Between now and 2013 they will be up and running.”

It is understood that at least three centres will be ready for testing by the end of the year.

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