A combined unit of officers from the Kent Special Constabulary and paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service has proven so successful, it has been extended across the North Kent area.
The Joint Response Unit was launched in March 2018 and until recently covered the areas of Medway and Swale for two days a week. The unit is comprised of two Special Constables and a paramedic who attend incidents together when both the police and ambulance service are required.
Following the success of the pilot project, the Joint Response Unit has been extended to include additional police officers and run seven days a week at peak times across Dartford, Gravesend, Medway and Swale.
Since its launch the team have attended over 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.
Superintendent 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.
‘I am delighted that the service has been extended across the North Kent area and we will continue to work closely with our partners to develop the project further.’
South East Coast Ambulance Service Paramedic and Operating Unit Manager for North Kent, Will Bellamy, said: ‘We are really pleased to have been able to roll out the unit further and move to a seven day a week model.
‘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.’