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