Meet the police and ambulance Joint Response Unit (JRU) vehicle team which has been patrolling and responding to incidents in Brighton and Hove.

The vehicle which is staffed by Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) allows a response police officer and a paramedic to work together to respond to incidents which require both services.

The SECAmb vehicle, is kitted out with everything police need to tackle crime and medical equipment required by paramedics.

Police officers working on the unit receive medical technique familiarisation and paramedics benefit from an input on conflict resolution.

Assaults, collision and alcohol-related incidents are the most common calls the JRU gets.

The unit was started as a trial project in December 2019 and runs on Friday and Saturday twilight shifts from 6pm to 2am to meet the demands of the night time economy in the city.

Both police and ambulance control are aware of the JRU and will actively seek to deploy the JRU to incidents that require a response from both services.

Inspector Steve Hill said: 

"The Joint Response Unit is a worthwhile initiative which involves police officers and paramedics travelling together to incidents which may require both areas of expertise, resulting in a more effective and efficient service.

"For example if there has been a fight and an arrested suspect has an injury, the medic could treat them then and there negating the need for officer to go and wait with them at hospital or call a double crewed ambulance. A cause for concern call could allow the officer to force entry to a premises to check and should a person be located there needing help, the medic is well placed to do so. Road collisions with injury are also an obvious incident where both services will be required.

"The JRU also retains the ability to ‘self-deploy’ to an incident be it medical or police that they feel they could readily assist with. They can be proactively doing directed patrol activities, searching for missing people and if they are the closest unit to a category 1 medical emergency or a police assistance call they will attend.

The unit has been responding to five or six incidents per shift and even during the Covid-19 lockdown when the night time economy was closed, it still remained busy."

During one shift last month, the team responded to a four calls in one Friday night shift including a man who had taken an overdose, a woman who was armed with two large kitchen knives and was self harming, a woman in distress on the edge of a cliff and a fight where a victim had been injured with a glass bottle.

SECAmb operational team leader Tim Clark said: “Setting up the Joint Response Unit in the city of Brighton and Hove, and working so closely with the Sussex Police has been a celebration of collaborative working, enabling us to provide a more focused and specialised response to incidents requiring both ambulance and police attendance. While JRUs are not a new concept to the South East Coast Ambulance Service, developing a joint working system within a busy and vibrant city such as Brighton and Hove presented a new challenge and the unit has proven to be an invaluable resource to both services.

"It ensures a greater understanding of each services working practices, builds on our already robust collaborative relationship, reduces lost operational hours and, most importantly, provides the residents of Brighton and Hove with a more streamlined and tailored response to the varied and unique incidents we attend."

A second Sussex JRU is currently being trialled in Worthing.