Show lauded by 999 bosses

Scenes from documentary 999: What's Your Emergency? showing firefighters tackling blaze at Blackpool's Trades Club.
Scenes from documentary 999: What's Your Emergency? showing firefighters tackling blaze at Blackpool's Trades Club.
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IT has created a storm of controversy across Blackpool – but police, fire and ambulance chiefs today said documentary 999: What’s Your Emergency? has shown their staff are “fierce protectors” of the public.

The Channel 4 programme aired the final episode in its series yesterday.

And emergency services bosses say the show, which highlighted social problems in the resort from booze-related violence to the consequences of drug addiction, gave an insight into what dangers their teams face.

Chief Supt Richard Debicki, from Blackpool Police, told The Gazette: “I think the force has come across really well and the programme has really shown the difficulties our staff face on a daily basis.

“I’m really proud of how our staff have come across – as fierce protectors of the public and have really shown they care about the people they serve, even in the most challenging circumstances.

“The programme has shown the abuse officers take and the sometimes dangerous and violent situations they find themselves in and I think all of our staff have acquitted themselves very well throughout.

“I also think the programme has raised some important issues around drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse and the risks posed by hoax callers.

“Sometimes these issues are uncomfortable to talk about and it’s quite shocking, but I think it is important to talk about these issues and to recognise and understand them.”

Firefighters were filmed dealing with a range of incidents, including a blaze at the Blackpool Trades Club.

Chris Kenny, Lancashire’s chief fire officer, said: “What came across loud and clear was that it offered an extraordinary insight into the outstanding service which our fire and rescue, police and ambulance services provide.

“At the outset, I believed it was a real opportunity for us to obtain public recognition for the work our firefighters, police and paramedics do, demonstrating a high calibre of service.

“I believe it has achieved that and more, with some moving and memorable coverage of incidents we were involved in.”

And Derek Cartwright, director of emergency services for the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, added: “It did show some disturbing incidents but these are replicated in towns and cities throughout the country and are not unique to Blackpool.

“This is what our crews see during their working life and as you have seen from the programme that there are happy endings too.”

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