An exciting new project has been on trial across Medway bringing together South East Coast Ambulance Service paramedics and Kent Police constables on Friday and Saturday nights to address evening and late night incidents.
Over the last few months this joint response unit has patrolled and responded to events ranging from assault, domestic abuse, fatal RTCs, firearms and hostage incident, falls, chemical assault and mental health concerns. By working together both police and medical attention is provided simultaneously, provides safety to responders and saves valuable taxpayer money on multiple vehicle call outs.
I had the pleasure to go out with the joint response crew recently to see their work first-hand and understand how the project works. The unit works incredibly hard during its shift but it is clear how beneficial this could be to police and ambulance services across Kent and perhaps the country.
It has been estimated that £1.6 million could be saved over a year within Kent if it is rolled out more widely. In its first seven weekends since the Project was implemented, the unit had responded to 60 ambulance call-outs and 56 police call-outs in just 15 shifts.
I want to help support and promote Project Responder and hopefully see it expanded across the county and region. At a time when ambulance and police services are stretched, this could be an invaluable initiative that helps save time and costs while integrating skills at some of the busiest weekly periods.
I will be meeting with the Policing Minister, Nick Hurd MP, in the coming weeks to highlight the project and see where it could be supported by government.
Anything that will increase the security and wellbeing of our communities is going to be a high priority for me and I am excited to see where this trial period will take Project Responder going forwards.