LFB's Crappy Engine Dispatch Software Is Playing With Fire, Says BBC

By Holly Brockwell on at

The dispatch software used by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) is dangerously unreliable, according to a damning investigation by the BBC.

Vision 4DS, made by Capita, was installed in 2015 at a cost of just under £20m pre-Brexit pounds. Since then, it has "crashed at least five times and once remained offline for three hours," forcing control room staff to resort to pen and paper.

While there haven't (yet) been any deaths that can be definitively blamed on the glitchy system, the BBC has seen proof of double-figure delays caused by software issues and the Fire Brigades Union thinks the real number could be in the thousands. In one case, a woman pinned underneath a double-decker bus was left to wait while a fire engine just two hundred metres away was available. A different fire engine turned up to the accident - caused when the bus swerved into a wall in Ladbroke Grove to avoid a crash - six minutes later.

While software maker Capita describes the issues as "very occasional intermittent problems," the implementation of the software was stalled for over a year due to staff concerns. The delay cost Capita over half a million pounds, and this latest news can't be doing great things for their bottom line either.

The full investigation is well worth a read, especially if you live in London and have an Indesit tumble dryer or a glass doorknob. Good luck with that. [BBC]

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