Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC PROVES FIRE SERVICE COLLABORATION IS HELPING SAVE LIVES AND POLICE TIME
The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are assisting the ambulance service at least once a day to force entry and reach patients in emergencies - a service previously provided by police who now have been freed-up for 999 duties, according to a new report to the Police Force’s Strategic Board (Monday 19).

Two months on from the launch of the initiative, which sees fire crews instead of police officers helping paramedics gain entry to reach patients who cannot get to the door in medical emergencies, figures show the fire service are attending at least one incident per day, freeing up significant time for police officers to attend other 999 emergencies.

“To see such successful results so soon after the agreement was made shows just how beneficial collaborative working between Bedfordshire’s emergency services is to the people of this county,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“It’s quite clear to me that if something as relatively simple as transferring forced entry responsibilities to free up police time is this successful, the other collaborative projects going forward will deliver even more benefits to the public. It’s just a fantastic start,” she said.

“This scheme gives a much better service to the public, particularly bearing in mind that those involved here are the vulnerable, the ill and, usually, elderly patients.”

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have been assisting the East of England ambulance service with forced entry since the beginning of July 2016. The agreement was part of a Memorandum of Understanding that covered wider collaboration, signed by representatives from the fire service, Bedfordshire Police, the ambulance service and the Police and Crime Commissioner at a launch event on July 25.

Glen Ranger, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Fire Chief, said: “The fact that our fire officers are assisting their paramedic colleagues so effectively only a few months after the collaboration was agreed, is testament to the huge benefits joint working between our emergency services brings to Bedfordshire.”

Lewis Andrews, Quality Improvement and Professional Standards lead for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “It’s fantastic news to see how successful the scheme is already becoming. We started this collaboration with the interests of both our patients and efficiency of the emergency services in mind, and it is clear to see that is already coming into effect. It’s still early days for the initiative and I hope that this will further continue to improve how we work with our blue light colleagues in Bedfordshire.”

The three blue-light services are looking at potential collaboration in the following areas:

-Fire helping police search for missing people using thermal imaging technology
-Shared use of drone technology to survey crime and fire scenes
-Joint procurement opportunities to save costs
-Paramedics and police sharing vehicles
-Combined crime prevention/community protection teams
-Police and Fire cadets will be working more closely together and training together
-Shared use of buildings such as Ampthill, Bedford, Harrold and Leighton Buzzard fire stations

For further information about collaboration and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s priorities, please see her Police and Crime Plan on bedspcc.org.