Region's tri-responders will provide 'quality service' to communityInnovative roles will represent 'step change' in way community safety is delivered.
A region has become just the second in the country to appoint individuals working for the police, fire and ambulance service at the same time.
Durham Constabulary now has two tri-responders combining the role of retained firefighter, emergency first responder and PCSO, a move aimed at improving collaboration between the three services in order to increase efficiencies.
Laura Birbeck, who previously worked as a retained firefighter and Laman Warburton, who worked for the fire service as a vulnerable persons advocate, will now take on the new roles which were made possible thanks to £53,400 funding from the Police Innovation Fund.
The community safety responders follow in the footsteps of Devon and Cornwall’s Andy Hichens, who became the country’s first tri-responder earlier this year following five months of intensive training.
Gary Ridley, Assistant Chief Officer for Durham Constabulary, said: “These roles are truly innovative and represent a step change in the way that community safety is delivered across the emergency services.
“They build on the excellent relationship that has been established between the police, fire and ambulance services and will provide a quality service for the people of Weardale.”
In October, Durham was recognised as being “outstanding” in the efficiency section of HMIC’s inspections, and cited the tri-responders role as one of the innovative measures integral to its success.
Laura and Laman will be based in the police station in Stanhope in Weardale, where they will be accessible to people within the local community and be highly visible as they carry out community safety activities from all three services.
Both are signed up to the role until March 2017 and initial training for each phase was delivered by the lead organisation for that aspect of the role.
Sarah Nattrass, area manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Laura and Laman have the expertise and local knowledge to enable them to succeed in these pioneering roles.
“They will be trained to provide the full range of skills needed to deliver a comprehensive emergency first response in Weardale.
Gareth Campbell, Operations Manager at North East Ambulance Service, said: “We anticipate that this will add to the invaluable efforts of existing Community First Responders and reaffirm our commitment to improving the response to patients in rural areas.
“Collaborative working with the Police and Fire & Rescue Services will mean that there are more resources available to the public in their time of need.”
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