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 Post subject: Privatisation of the Search and Rescue Service
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Did anyone else notice this little reported news item yesterday?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8506806.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8507285.stm

Search and Rescue is to be run from 2012 by a consortium which includes Thales and RSB (Don't the latter belong to the government??!!) A reduction from 38 helicopters to 24 but they will be better helicopters! Just remember that when you are lying there injured waiting for one to arrive. I wonder how the commercial pressures will impact on training and co-operation with the other non commercial services and volunteers? I've never had to use and hope I never will but it seems to me that up unitl now it has been working extremely well.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Yes, I saw this and had initial concerns.

Apparently the Sea Kings are all at the end of their service lives and need replaceing, so I dont think the "do nothing" option is going to fly (forgive the pun).

The news item enforced the statement that there would never be a charge for the service, which is something, but like you I wonder if the inter-service communication will suffer.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:49 am 
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I suppose there may be a transition period where it may appear that the service could get worse before it gets better?

I'm sure they will have a huge long checklist to have a seamless changeover - it won't be all on the same day will it?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:16 am 
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My undersattnding is that it will happen on a day in 2012 but also the majority of the personnel will be transferred to the new company. That should ensure the service in the short term but long term who is going to train the new crews? Not sure how that works since most of them will be forces personnel. It should, however, ensure the service in the short term but long term who is going to train the new crews?

I wish I shared your optimism Pete, but the record on past privatisation doesn't look that good. The maintenance of the railways resulted in a couple of serious accidents and had to be brought back under the' influence' of the government. (i.e Network Rail - a non profit making company nominally owned by the train operating companies. With reagrds to the helicopters it is a sorry story to say they are now 40 years old. So the government has had 40 years to save up to buy new ones but hasn't done so! Also they are not all old since the Stornaway Coastguard one is state of the art and only a couple of years old. There is no mention of what will happen to this one. Will the new company take to over for a nominal fee?

What happens if the company runs out of money to fulfil its promises? Yes, the government will have to pick it up again just like they did with the East Coast mainline.

It seems to me another example of 'buy now - pay later'. The government doesn't have to find any money up front but will be paying for with a hefty 'rate of interest' for the next 25 years!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:16 pm 
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Is it not the type of helicopter like the stornaway helicopter that will remain in service its only the Military Sea Kings from the Navy and Air Force will be replaced.
I once saw the RAF one in Snowdon area and it did look a bit old and worn. So maybe it is a good thing.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:27 pm 
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I notice in Norfolk where I come from, the Search and Rescue service is going to be 'off-shored' to a French consortium.

So from now on, if you need rescuing in East Anglia, you'll have to ask the French to come to your aid.

Isn't anything in Britain run by the British anymore?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:07 pm 
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I think Tigger that is a slight misrepresentation by the local media. The whole of the UK Search and Rescue (not just Norfolk) is being contracted out to a 'consortium' which includes RBS and 'Thales'. I think it is fairer to say that Thales is an international company with only 20% of its revenue being generated in France. It is, amongst other things, invlved in installing and maintaining signalling on the British railway network. It used to I beleive own Magellan GPS although that might no longer be the case.

The Stornaway helicopter, Junglie, is an interesting case as it is a Coastguard helicopter and not a military one. I presume it will not be handed over to the new consortium and will continue with its Coastguarding duties. Whether it will still be available for Search and Rescue has not been made clear.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:46 am 
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I'm not sure I understand the logic but I'm sure someone can enlighten me :? :?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/politics/10341863.stm (See bottom of page)
Privatising the Search and Rescue Service was going to save us lots of money but it now it seems that scrapping the privatisation to save us money will now save us £4bn. Isn't this the ultimate way out of all the country's financial ills? Announce a load of projects to save money and then scrap them and save even more money. :) :)


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