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07/2017: Relocation of Force Control Room fall back facility to Harrogate police station

Re-locate the fall-back control room facility to Harrogate Police Station

Executive Summary and Recommendation

This paper proposes to locate the fall-back facility of the force control room to Harrogate police station, in the event of a critical incident in York.  The fall-back facility is currently located at police headquarters at Newby Wiske, but the site is being sold.  Moving the facility to Harrogate ensures the right resilience is in place to guarantee North Yorkshire Police can continue to provide a telephone service to the public of North Yorkshire should the control room in York no longer be able to function.

The North Yorkshire Police FCR delivers a highly professional and dedicated service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The FCR provides the essential link with the public in handling emergency and non-emergency calls and are directly involved in managing incidents and deploying officers and resources where they are most needed. In the event of the FCR not being available the FCR fall back facility is immediately deployed. This could be due to technical, power and building issues, or an environmental incident such as flooding.  Plans to vacate the Newby Wiske site also make this decision notice necessary.

Recommendation: To approve the replacement of the existing Force Control Room (FCR) fall back facility with a new FCR fall back facility at Harrogate Police Station and the requisite funding to deliver this proposal.


Police and Crime Commissioner decision: Approved

Signature: signature
Date: 29 March 2017
Title: Police and Crime Commissioner

Introduction and Background

This Decision Notice proposes to replace the existing Force Control Room (FCR) fall back facility at Police Headquarters with a new FCR fall back facility Harrogate Police Station.

Plans to vacate Newby Wiske will directly impact on the FCR business continuity arrangements and alternative FCR fall back arrangements will need be identified and implemented well in advance of the decommissioning of the Newby Wiske fall back site.   This proposal will also allow medium to long term critical functions facilities to be addressed at the same time. The current FCR fall back facility located at Police Headquarters, Newby Wiske is only viable for short term business continuity arrangements due to there being limited capacity and seating.  In addition the number of dispatch positions is inadequate to run the force in a long term fall back situation.  There is a requirement to increase the radio system’s capacity, which cannot be met at the current site.

All locations in North Yorkshire Police’s estate have been considered in conjunction with Properties and Facilities and ICT and any collaboration options have been explored.  Athena House, York and Harrogate Police Station have been identified as the only potential locations that meet the requirements for FCR fall back.  In comparing both locations, Harrogate Police Station represents the most cost effective proposal and its location provides the necessary isolation from the FCR systems and power supply in the event of a shutdown.

The current multi-agency Silver room at Harrogate is the preferred location for the proposed Harrogate fall Back site.  It is anticipated that FCR fall back can be used as a police only Silver Room when not required by FCR.  This would involve establishing a protocol for the displacement of Silver in the event of an FCR shutdown if this coincided with the use of the room.  Silver room business continuity in such rare circumstances is being considered separately to this paper.

The existing arrangements for the FCR fall back include:

  • York – Room G77 for FCR Crime recording and Occurrence Management and dispatchers.
  • York – Room 204 for Police National Computer (PNC) Bureau within the Major Crime office
  • Northallerton – PNC Liaison which can accommodate PNC Bureau

These arrangements are able to support the FCR business critical functions for a few hours only and cannot accommodate multi-agency support, Silver support, Child Rescue Alert (CRA) or spontaneous or planned incidents.

Similarly, as G77 does not have full Cortex capabilities, there is no dispatcher priority on the talk group and therefore the ability to monitor, acknowledge, clear and override transmissions in the event of an

emergency activation is triggered by an officer.  In addition, ‘Call Back’ and ‘Urgent Call Back’ requests cannot be monitored and responded to effectively.  The G77 airwave desktop units also only allow one talk group to be monitored at any one time, so handhelds have to be utilised by other ‘floating staff’ to monitor.

Nationally mandated radio talk groups such as NYP Hailing, NYP Sharer Hailing as well as other talkgroups for interoperability with our other partner emergency service ‘NYP Emergency Service 1’ cannot be monitored.   Should a spontaneous incident need supporting then a CROM position would need to be utilised by a dispatcher, again with a desktop unit.

Should the FCR be unavailable for more than a few hours then staff relocate to the fall back room located at Newby Wiske.

The current FCR fall back at Police Headquarters currently provides 10 full command and control (Cortex) workstations with airwave connectivity to facilitate dispatchers, deployment managers, Force Incident Managers (Control Room Inspectors) and 6 workstations with 3 screens to facilitate CROM officers.

Once the minimum requirement to cover the 4 talkgroups has been met there is no resilience in the event of airwave connectivity or workstation failure.  Each talkgroup operates with a reduced number of 2 dispatchers rather than the standard number of 3, which results in no “call back” facility and limited outbound calls.  The remaining 6 workstations facilitate emergency and enquirer calls with no capacity to perform Niche or admin work.

The fall back room does not support spontaneous critical incidents arising on a separate talkgroup examples being – Firearms and TPAC. This is due to:

1) Insufficient CCI tetra ports available (only 10) should XN not be functional

2) Insufficient cortex workstations available to connect to the CCI ports (only 10)

This was evident during the recent relocation of FCR XN to G77 and Newby Wiske for 5 days w/c 15/6/15, whilst the Uninterrupted Power Supply system was installed to the FCR XN.

However, even with all 3 rooms being occupied by FCR staff, the existing arrangements do not make any provision for the following:

  • PNCB
  • Only Airwave capacity for the minimum number of staff to monitor the required Airwave NYP and Nationally mandated talk groups with no capacity to support spontaneous incidents or planned silver events e.g. Royal Visits, Races and Football Matches.
  • Sufficient Cortex workstation capacity
  • G77 and Newby Wiske when fully staffed do not provide the capacity to utilise all FCR staff.

An additional concern is the reduced level of audio quality and an increase of background sound experienced within the fall back rooms when carrying out the dispatch and CROMS/COMMS role.  The acoustics within the fall back with staff actively taking calls and dispatching within a confined area, as well as the existing poor audio quality on all the phone calls, does not provide a suitable environment for effective service delivery. Managers are aware of staff fatigue when working out of the fall back rooms due to the level of additional concentration required to ensure calls are taken correctly.

Other considerations –

The decommissioning of Police Headquarters at Newby Wiske will directly impact in the FCR business continuity arrangements and alternative FCR fall back arrangements will need be identified and implemented well in advance of the decommissioning of the Newby Wiske fall back site. One key consideration is the decommissioning costs that will be incurred with the Airwave equipment and the requirement to provide one year’s notice to Airwave.

A Business Continuity Plan is in place and tested, but it is only sustainable on a short term basis.  Long term BCP is logged on the Force Risk Register.  These risks are interlinked and can be mitigated by an adequate fall back facility being provided.

Other Options Considered

Relocation to current NYP sites 

Consideration has been given to relocating to other NYP buildings within a practical travelling distance from the City of York. 

It was subsequently established that Harrogate Police Station is the only property within NYP’s Estate that can meet the FCR business continuity requirements for providing a medium to long term FCR fall back function.

Harrogate Police Station is able to fulfil the key requirements of an FCR fall back including:

  • Appropriate infrastructure and accommodation capacity to host the FCR fall back function for medium to long term
  • Sufficient IT network capacity to facilitate the FCR fall back
  • Geographical separation from the main FCR location to support Business Continuity
  • Site that is easily accessible due to good transport links 


Collaboration options, for fall back with Cleveland and Durham Police have been explored.

Durham Constabulary have indicated that there is a potential for their fall back site at Bishop Auckland to be used by North Yorkshire Police. This is their only fall back site and could only be on a short term basis. It could provide NYP with only 10 positions for call handling and PNC Bureau.  Durham’s facility is tested on a six monthly basis and has only been used once in a genuine fall back situation in the last 12 months. This facility also acts as a training facility for the entire force.  There could also be some short term workstation positions available at Durham’s contact Centre at HQ. They use the telephone platform (AVAYA) which would enable ease of use by NYP communications staff as this is their normal working telephone platform.  Due to limited Airwave capacity it would be more difficult to dispatch from Durham during any down time. Further discussions would need to be held in relation to dispatching.

Relocating NYP staff to Durham would present significant logistic problems and their provision of 10 positions only would not be sufficient for NYPs call taking requirements

Cleveland Police’s fall back facility is in the centre of Middlesbrough. Transportation of NYP staff to Middlesbrough in the event of a long term shutdown would also present significant logistic problems.

West Yorkshire Police have a fall back facility, with 60 positions for call takers and 5 places for Dispatch located in Bradford. We could therefore only use for their fall back arrangements for call taking and transportation of NYP staff to Bradford in the event of a long term shutdown would also present significant logistic problems

Initial scoping work has also taken place for collaboration with Yorkshire Ambulance Service to ascertain if their premises could be used as NYP’s FCR fall back facility. Early indications are that there are no premises available to accommodate NYP in the York area.

Options for collaboration with Fire and Rescue have also been considered. They currently have a Control Room in Northallerton which has 4 positions for both call taking and Dispatch. Their fall back arrangements are in collaboration with Devon and Cornwall Fire and Rescue. Fire and Rescue so not have sufficient capacity to facilitate NYPs fall back requirements.

Before any accommodation, owned by another agency, could be used as a fall back there would be extensive ICT work to be undertaken (i.e. Radio/Telephony/computers). 

The separation of Dispatch and Call Taking/ Agile working 

The separation of the dispatch and call taking functions has been considered. With the Unified Communication project comes the opportunity to site call takers anywhere in the estate; agile working. The ICT, hardware and software, cost of setting up each position is approximately £1000.00. The conclusion from consultation with ICT and FCR Systems Administration is that servicing these positions and ensuring that they are always functional for fall back purposes would not be cost effective.

There are significant operational and technical reasons for the dispatch function to be located together with the Force Incident Manager (FIM) and the Deployment Manager (DM). Technically the CCI ports that the dispatchers use for connection to Airwave can only be moved and located in blocks of 10. Operationally there is often a requirement for the FIM and DM to speak directly with the dispatchers to manage incidents.

The recommendation is that call taking and dispatch functions should be co-located at one fall back facility.

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan Priorities

The recommendations in this Decision Notice are offered on the basis that they will fully support the Police and Crime Plan priorities as follows:

  • Protecting vulnerable people
  • Cut Crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Transforming the Organisation – Improving Efficiency & Productivity
  • People First
  • Partnerships & Commissioning

Implementation and Resourcing Implications


Information about timescales will need to be sought following the approval of the fall back facility to take into consideration the prioritisation of other projects.

Consultations Carried Out

The below table should include who has been consulted and their feedback.  Not all departments will need to be consulted with on every proposal, however, they should all be considered:  

Name (Collar Number) Department Comments
Office of the PCC The replacement fall back facility requirement was evident from the proposal for HQ relocation to Alverton Court which has previously been consulted on and was subject of a DN approved at EB.
Jane Palmer


Financial Services
Supt Thomson

Supt Booth

Supt Dey

Local Policing Nothing to note
Cleveland and Durham and

ACC Amanda Oliver

Beyond Local Policing Collaborative arrangements for fall back have been explored
Claire Bean 4321









R Holmes 4647

Human Resources – Training Use of the fall back room has been agreed for training provision as a default. Further considerations are required regarding alternative training provision as result of the move to the new HQ which will be considered in a separate paper.


As stated in section below.

N/A Joint Corporate Legal Services
N/A Corporate Communications
Jonathan Garratt

Yvonne Chilvers

Property and Facilities Head of Property and Facilities has been consulted on both Athena House and Harrogate Police Station options
Sudeep Chatterjee

Glen Mallows

Mike Walker

Information and Communications Technology Information and Communications Technology have been consulted on both Athena House and Harrogate Police Station options
N/A Transport
Mrs Carrie Whitham

Ambulance Service,

Joint Corporate Commissioning and Partnership Services Other Emergency Service fall back arrangements
N/A Organisation and Development
N/A Information Management

 Compliance Checks

Financial Implications/Value for money:

It was always expected that as a result of the move from Newby Wiske to Alverton Court that there would be a requirement to review the location of the Force Control Room fall back provision. The Alverton Court budget contained £50k to support the move; however the proposal for the Commissioners consideration is around £300k higher than this at £350k. The decision sets out the improved position the Force will find itself in, as a result of the changes being made to the fall back set up at the same time as the move. From a financial perspective a lot of the costs are driven by the work required by Airwaves, who are in a monopoly position to undertake this work. The overall costs will be factored into the MTFP, should the decision be approved, however it is not expected that this decision in isolation will lead to higher levels of borrowing in the short term.

Legal Implications: 

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Acting Force Solicitor and Head of Legal Services is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

Human Resources Implications:           

The content of this proposal is noted.  Consultation has taken place with the Training and Development Manager.  The need to provide an alternative facility for training remains but as stated this will be considered and progressed separately to this proposal.  It is my understanding that Unison representation is being updated throughout and will continue to be so.

Public Access to information

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account when reaching the decision.  This Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain.  The decision and information will be made available on the Commissioner’s website.

Only where material is properly classified as Restricted under the Government Protective Marking Scheme or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made.  In these instances, Part 2 will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted.  Information in Part 2 will not be published.

All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

Part two

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice – YES (please delete as appropriate)

If Yes, what is the reason for restriction –

The Chief Constable is of the opinion that the information included in part 2 falls under Section 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011, i.e. it

The information included in Part 2 is properly classified as Restricted.

Background documents:

Please note that when submitting papers for Executive Board consideration, additional documents should not be embedded within this document but provided separately, and must be clearly and correctly labelled (e.g. Appendix A).

I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received against this and any associated Part 2 information and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision

Signature:     L.J.Winward
Date: 14th January 2017

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