New joint emergency team in Gravesend and Dartford after success of pilot scheme
PUBLISHED: 07:09 11 March 2020
A new partnership between emergency services is being rolled out in Gravesend and Dartford, following a successful pilot scheme.
It is a combined unit of officers from the Kent Special Constabulary and paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service.
It's called the Joint Response Unit and was launched in March 2018, running two days a week in Medway and Swale. The unit is comprised of two special constables and a paramedic who attend incidents together when both the police and ambulance service are required.
The unit has been extended to include additional police officers and runs seven days a week at peak times across the original areas, plus Dartford and Gravesend.
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Kent police said since its launch, the team has attended more than 2,750 incidents in response to calls from the public reporting vehicle collisions, medical incidents, assaults and mental health concerns.
By working together the Kent Special Constabulary Officers have prevented drug and alcohol-fuelled incidents from escalating into disorder, which in turn has allowed paramedics to work safely at the scene.
The unit was highlighted as an area of outstanding practice in the Care Quality Commission's inspection report for South East Coast Ambulance Service and, following a review, was found to be successful in reducing the number of calls to both services.
Supt Jason Wenlock, of Kent Police's Citizens in Policing Team, said: 'This Special Constabulary and South East Coast Ambulance Service initiative has proved to be an effective and efficient way of providing an improved response to the public. In addition to offering police assistance and medical aid quickly we have been able to prevent situations getting out of hand whilst also assessing if more police officers or ambulance crews are needed at an incident.'
And South East Coast Ambulance Service paramedic and operating unit manager for North Kent, Will Bellamy, said: 'There is a huge crossover in the incidents we and our police colleagues attend on a daily basis and this joint approach to responding has delivered real benefits both to our patients and in terms of increased awareness of each service's role.'
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