In November 2021, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent and Surrey Fire and Rescue Services signed a joint policy (Memorandum of Understanding) for the 4F Collaboration fire investigation function.
The purpose of a joint policy function between West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Surrey Fire and Rescue Services is to provide a standard and consistent level of fire investigation across the four fire and rescue services.
The collaboration has been designed to provide additional resilience across the South East as well as consistency in our approach to fire investigation and the training of all fire investigation officers. The collaboration will help galvanise and to strive for the best standards in fire investigation and compliance with national guidance.
Mark Matthews, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Fire Investigation Memorandum of Understanding has now gone live across all four fire services. Fire Investigation remains a crucial part of our work that not only determines the cause of the fires themselves but also helps influence future prevention activity and operational learning from incidents. Years of preparation has culminated in the memorandum being signed and this is a huge milestone for everyone involved. I look forward to working collaboratively with our colleagues over the border and developing our fire investigation work going forward.”
Mark Andrews, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said: “The Fire Investigation MOU between our four Fire & Rescue Services gives us a clear framework allowing for much closer collaboration on areas such as joint training, policies, quality assurance and sharing of fire investigation officers and equipment.
We have had a dedicated team who have been working on this partnership for some time and we are already seeing definite improvements with some excellent joint training delivered to all fire investigators.
This new agreement also includes sharing fire data, giving us a larger pool of information and allowing for accidental fire trends to be identified earlier. This will help set the direction and concentration for our future prevention work making our communities safer than ever.
I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work and look forward to even closer working with our colleagues across the region.”
Dan Quin, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fire investigation is a crucial function of UK Fire and Rescue Services, the team are highly skilled in a variety of areas including drone piloting and dog handling. This collaboration will benefit our four fire and rescue services by advancing our borderless working, prevention targeting, increasing partnerships and resilience. We thoroughly welcome this MOU and would like to thank everyone involved in making it happen.”