Three for the price of one: Tri-ser­vice of­fi­cer on the beat

Western Morning News - - Front Page - BY MARTIN FREE­MAN

More three-in-one emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel will soon be head­ing to streets in the South West.

The tri-ser­vices safety of­fi­cers (TSSOs) – trained med­i­cally and in skills used by the po­lice and fire­fight­ers – will be de­ployed in an­other seven Cor­nish towns.

Corn­wall pi­loted the scheme which is now be­ing picked up by other ar­eas of the coun­try.

An­drew Hitchens be­came the first TSSO in the UK in 2015, based in a new sta­tion in Hayle, oc­cu­pied by fire, po­lice and am­bu­lance ser­vices. Of­fi­cers are cur­rently de­ployed in Bude and Liskeard, and St Just, St Ives, Per­ran­porth, Fowey/Pol­ruan, Looe, Lost­with­iel, St Den­nis will get TSSO next, says Devon and Corn­wall’s Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner, Ali­son Her­nan­dez.

“In­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of the role has taken place and has ev­i­denced a clear ben­e­fit to all three emer­gency ser­vices,” said Ms Her­nan­dez.

“Ear­lier this year the pub­lic backed my plans to in­vest in new ways for our com­mu­ni­ties to be­come safer. I promised peo­ple that if they paid more they would get more in re­turn and the roll-out of TSSOs across Corn­wall is the start of that, as is the de­vel­op­ment of com­mu­nity re­spon­ders in Devon.

“I ex­pect to see more of both be­ing de­ployed in the fu­ture.”

Su­per­in­ten­dent Matt Long­man, Corn­wall’s part­ner­ship su­per­in­ten­dent, said he was proud of the na­tional lead taken by the county.

“The pi­lot was bril­liant one, and it’s quite right that it is be­ing ex­panded,” he said. “The in­di­vid­u­als in the roles so far have been ex­cep­tional in the ser­vice they have de­liv­ered.

“Once peo­ple get used to see­ing them and un­der­stand­ing the role they have they will be seen as vi­tal to keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

The TSSOs would be lo­cated in ar­eas where the po­lice, fire and am­bu­lance ser­vices had a lim­ited pres­ence and where it was dif­fi­cult to de­ploy a re­source from a sin­gle agency “given cur­rent fi­nan­cial re­straints”, a spokesper­son for Ms Her­nan­dez’s of­fice said.

The posts are funded by the three emer­gency ser­vices. TSSOs pick up their work­load from po­lice neigh­bour­hood teams but when they at­tend will give ad­vice on all types of com­mu­nity safety and pre­ven­tion such as on anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, in­stalling a smoke alarm, or any med­i­cal re­fer­ral or ad­vice.

They do not have the same pow­ers as a po­lice com­mu­nity sup­port of­fi­cer but are trained med­i­cally, to a co-re­spon­der stan­dard, and re­ceive fire­fighter train­ing.

St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Dou­ble said he was de­lighted at the roll-out.

“It is good to see PCC Her­nan­dez use her pow­ers to in­no­vate and come up with a good so­lu­tion to pro­vid­ing lo­cal cover for our emer­gency ser­vices in ru­ral ar­eas that need them,” he said.

‘They will be vi­tal to keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties safe’

Su­per­in­ten­dent Matt Long­man

An­drew Hitchens, the UK’s first tri-ser­vices safety of­fi­cer

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