Portsmouth and Southampton to work together to fight terror threat

Emergency services on strategic training for a major incident
Emergency services on strategic training for a major incident
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Portsmouth City Council is set to join forces with its Southampton counterpart to fight terror and other emergencies.

A unified approach to plan for incidents between Portsmouth and Southampton City Council would result in both standing a better chance of combating things like natural disasters, gas leaks, health hazards, as well as terror threats, it is thought.

It has been recommended for the cabinet member for environment and community safety at Portsmouth City Council to approve the creation of a shared ‘Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Service’ for both councils at a meeting later this month.

If it gets the go-ahead it means both councils can prepare for any possible incidents by benefiting from a larger pool of staff that is better mobilised.

Any move would potentially help safeguard important strategic sites such as the naval base.

The proposal is part of both councils’ compliance with the Civil Contingencies Act which covers anything that poses a threat to the UK – including terrorism and foreign attacks.

Britain’s official terror threat level is ‘severe’ following a number of high profile attacks in the last year.

The unified approach would allow both councils and wider communities to ‘prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies effectively’, according to a council report on the recommendation.

The report adds: ‘Reorganising these teams into a single shared service will not adversely affect the service delivered to each council but will allow the team greater resilience and flexibility in undertaking the work and pursuing new income generation opportunities.’

Responding to whether there would be any job losses, the council said in a statement: ‘This proposal will increase the resources within the joint team.’

It added: ‘The associated increase in staff costs will be offset by an increase in team income, rendering the proposal cost neutral.’

The council statement said there were no new terror threats.

Portsmouth and Southampton already work together as a joint authority on public health which cover issues such as smoking, fitness and what the public are eating.