Gwent Specials and Welsh Ambulance Service up for joint award

Today Gwent Police Special Constabulary, along with the Welsh Ambulance Service are attending Church House in Westminster, London after being shortlisted for the iESE National Innovation and Transformation Award.

iESE celebrate public sector excellence and the iESE Awards are open to any public body in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and their partners in the voluntary, community and private sector. On Tuesday 6th March, 2018, iESE will be marking its 9th Annual iESE awards in London.

The Gwent Police Special Constabulary is an invaluable team of volunteer Police Officers who support Gwent Police in protecting and reassuring our communities and have been recognised for a joint working initiative with the Welsh Ambulance Service to address incidents where Police Officers at an incident, require the attendance of medical assistance or advice, thereby reducing the strain on the Emergency Ambulance Service and releasing Police Officers more quickly from incidents to respond to incidents where they were most needed. Both the Gwent Police Special Constabulary and Welsh Ambulance Service are now up for a 'Working Together' award for their innovative approach to their work.

In May 2016, an approach was made to Gwent Police by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) to establish whether there was any appetite for a pilot initiative to be established to deal specifically with Police related incidents where an ambulance was more often or not required or requested. In March 2016, the two emergency services attended 2,249 incidents together.

As a result, on the 1st July 2016 the Joint Response Unit (JRU) call sign PM01 was born and continues to date.

The JRU was established with 4 Paramedics and 10 Special Constables, all of whom volunteered for the project. The JRU normally operates on a Force wide basis and its tour of duty is normally 1400 - 0200hrs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The JRU also provides additional support on busy occasions such a Black Friday, over the Christmas period, New Year's Eve, Halloween, Bonfire Night and for all major events such as the RBS Six Nations, Champions League and Cardiff Pride. During these periods the JRU's tour of duty is 1400 - 0500hrs.

Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Gareth Chapman explains: "Since its inception the relationship between the Paramedics and Special Constabulary team have grown to such an extent that there is mutual respect amongst the Team and great friendships have been established. The understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the individuals have been strengthened and a great team working ethos now exists. The commitment of the Special Constables to working with the Paramedics has resulted in several training sessions where some enhanced first aid training has been undertaken, much of which is outside the normal Police first aid training.  The training has brought together all 5 Paramedics and all 10 Special Constables clearly demonstrating the commitment of the JRU Team."

Richard Lee, the Welsh Ambulance Service's Director of Operations, said: "We attend many of the same incidents as our police colleagues on a daily basis, but not all of them require an immediate response from an ambulance crew. The aim of the Joint Response Unit is to keep our crews available to help people facing life-threatening emergencies, and free up police officers from incidents by not having to wait for an ambulance and receiving support from a Special Constable. The scheme is a great example of team working across agencies and the fact we have been shortlisted for the iESE National Innovation and Transformation Award is testament to everyone who has made it a success."

Good luck the JRU team!