Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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As part of her on-going commitment to explore joint working with other blue light services in the county, Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway recently joined Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) to try out Thermal Imaging Cameras (TICs) and discover how the police can use the equipment in missing person searches.

As part of a six-month trial, firefighters will assist police officers searching for missing people. The devices are usually used to search for hot spots or people in smoke filled rooms, but thanks to this latest initiative it has been given a dual purpose of being able to pick up heat signals from a missing person, saving vital time and resources during any search.

PCC Holloway said, “Using this fascinating technology designed for one specific purpose, in a wholly innovative way is a fantastic example of how co-working between the Police and the Fire and Rescue Service in Bedfordshire put us at the forefront of collaboration and is another example of what is arguably the most extensive partnership between police and fire in the country.

“This collaboration is part of a wider Blue Light Integration Project with the emergency services in Bedfordshire maximising resources and improving efficiencies that is producing real benefits for the people of this county.”

Service Operational Commander, Ian Evans, Head of Operations at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said, “In partnership with Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescues Service were requested to assist in the searching for missing and vulnerable people on nine occasions in 2016, we are happy to report that on each occasion the individual was found safe and well.”

Bedfordshire Police’s T/Deputy Chief Constable Mike Colbourne said: “We take reports of missing people very seriously and do all we can to ensure that our most vulnerable are found safe and well and returned to their loved ones. Having support from the Fire Service will make a huge difference and allow us to get searches underway in a much shorter time frame.”

The Blue Light Integration Project focuses on pooling resources from local blue light services – Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the East of England Ambulance Trust – to maximise efficiency, improving public service and reducing costs. Discussions are on-going for more collaborative working with the blue light services but some agreements include:
• A shared use of facilities within the county such as in Ampthill, Bedford and Leighton Buzzard fire stations
• A shared use of drone technology to manage major incidents
• Combined crime prevention and community protection teams
• Joint procurement opportunities to save costs
• Closer working between cadets
• Working closely in the creation of share back-office functions