Laura Birbeck and Laman Warburton will be representing three blue-light services in Durham as Community Safety Responders (CSR) as part of a scheme designed to increase collaboration between the three services and allow efficiencies without reducing frontline services. Laura and Laman will work for Durham Constabulary as Police Community Safety Officers, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service as retained firefighters and as first responders for the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).
The scheme is believed to be only the second project of its kind in the country and was part funded through the national Police Innovation Fund.
Laura and Laman will undertake policing, fire and rescue and ambulance service response activities from their base within the police station in Stanhope, Weardale and are signed up until March 2017. They will be readily accessible to people within the local community and also highly visible as they go about their daily community safety activities incorporating elements from all three blue light services.
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.”
Each phase of the initial training has been delivered by the lead organisation for that aspect of the role. Police have led on PCSO training, the FRS on firefighter training and NEAS on co-responder training.
Laura has been a retained firefighter in Stanhope since May 2014. Her full time employment was as a care assistant at a residential and nursing home. Meanwhile, Laman has worked for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service since June 2014 as a vulnerable persons advocate.
Gareth Campbell, Operations Manager at North East Ambulance Service, said, “We welcome the introduction of the Community Safety Responder role – it has already been successfully trialled in the South of England.
“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 and rescue services will mean that there are more resources available to the public in their time of need.”