Firefighters will fight flames and crimes as the crew are the first in Britain to receive police training
- The firefighters can appear as police officers in what is probably a national premiere
- Seven firefighters from Devon and Somerset were trained as special police officers
- The role is designed to increase the presence of police and firefighters on call in the region
A team of firefighters was the first group in the country to receive special training that enables them to fight crime.
Seven firefighters were trained so that they can also appear as police officers in what is believed to be a national premiere.
The firefighters of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were trained as special police officers in a new role as "Community Responders".
The best of both worlds: Community forces can participate in incidents that represent both fire and police services
These new community forces can handle both fire and police incidents, increasing police presence and the number of emergency firefighters available in the communities.
The project aims to improve response times in rural areas in Devon.
The police and fire department cooperation project has been funded by the police in Devon and Cornwall, and Criminal Investigation Commissioner Alison Hernandez hopes it will improve access to emergency services for communities in Devon.
The seven community responders were recruited in places where there was a need due to risk, vulnerability and harm – Cullompton, Crediton, Dartmouth, Honiton, Okehampton, Newton Abbot and Totnes.
Ms. Hernandez has committed funds to cover recruitment and training costs for the first two years, with the possibility of further extension. It is part of their commitment to improve collaboration between emergency services.
Community responder Will Britten shows the differences in uniform that are required for his new role. The role should increase police presence and the number of emergency firefighters available in the community
& # 39; I am incredibly happy to be able to support this collaboration. We don't know what the future funding of one of our emergency services will look like, and working on unique projects like this will improve the service that both organizations can offer to the people of Devon. & # 39; said Ms. Hernandez.
"I look forward to seeing the benefits that our communities will benefit from this innovative work."
Kevin Pearce, the new community responder for Cullompton, said he was motivated to take on the role by a lifelong interest in policing.
He said: "I think this pilot will be really useful – it will mean that I can be more present in the community and a face that people can recognize and address in both police and fire incidents, and we can help reach more people.
“Everyone I spoke to about the project seems to be excited.
“It's great to improve the presence of emergency services in communities that need it.
"I'm really looking forward to being at the forefront of this process."
Chief Inspector Tom Holmes, Head of Devon and Cornwall Police for Emergency Response Cooperation, said: “This project provides both the police and fire departments with an excellent opportunity to bring additional officers into our communities who will be able to do anything Address the problem from two points of view.
“It is important that in some of our most isolated communities, they will also be able to answer service requests and maintain fire protection coverage.
"This is a national premiere that both services share a great deal of excitement about."
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service group leader Jeff Harding said they were "delighted to be joining this initiative because it provides on-demand support to firefighters in areas where we have recruitment problems."
"The service for people living in these cities will be improved as community responders can provide visibility and advice to the public in both roles," he added.