Services sign agreement on forced entry to properties

The new agreement was signed by representatives from the three emergency services at a ceremony in Stevenage on 29 November.

The new agreement was signed by representatives from the three emergency services at a ceremony in Stevenage on 29 November.

Hertfordshire’s police, fire and rescue, and ambulance services have signed a new agreement on forced entry to properties in medical emergencies.

Until now, when an ambulance crew couldn’t gain access to a property they’ve called the police to help them break in. But now, in a six-month pilot, Hertfordshire County Council’s fire and rescue service will take on that role, using their expertise and equipment to help paramedics get inside a locked property quickly.

Firefighters are well placed to carry out this role as they already have the skills as experience to gain entry to a property in an emergency and have the emergency medical training to assist ambulance crews treating a patient.

This new arrangement will also free up valuable police time. In the last year, the police responded to 272 requests to gain entry to properties by the ambulance service.

Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said, “We’re keen to see emergency services working more closely together and are always open to looking at ways of making our services better and more efficient.”

“This is a great example of how our fire and rescue service can free up police time by using their expertise to help the ambulance service.

“Not only can our firefighters help paramedics get into a property quickly to help someone in need, they also have the emergency medical training to assist paramedics providing care for patients.”

Chief Constable Charlie Hall said, “This marks the beginning of our desire to work more collaboratively with our blue light partners in order to deliver a more efficient and effective service to the public of Hertfordshire. There has been some really good partnership working over many years but this sets out our ambition to take things a stage further and work in a way which reduces demand on all our services by joining up the response especially in relation to community safety. We are now working on the implementation of the MoU through the Herts Local Change Team.”

Dave Fountain, Deputy Director of Service Delivery at East of England Ambulance Service, said, “This is an excellent example of our key blue light services working together as one; this new scheme will help all of the emergency services and fundamentally improve services to patients across Hertfordshire. This is one of many collaborative schemes we are currently work on, and all moving forwards we all will continue to focus on the response and quality of services we are able to offer to our patients and everyone across our Counties in the East of England.”

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd welcomed the new arrangement. He said, “The fire and rescue service are the experts at entering properties in an emergency. It makes sense for them to provide this valuable service and help free up police officers at the same time.”

“My new Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan is looking at ways we can extend the level of cross-service working, and this is a wonderful example of something which will deliver a better service to Hertfordshire’s residents.”

The pilot will run for six months until May 2017 and will become a permanent arrangement if it is proving to be successful.