Community safety responders Laura Birbeck and Laman Warburton are pictured with, left to right, Sarah Nattrass, area manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Gareth Campbell, Operations Manager at North East Ambulance Service, and Gary Ridley, Assistant Chief Officer for Durham Constabulary

New tri-responders recruited in Durham

Laura and Laman will respond for police, fire and ambulance service

THEY won’t be wearing three hats at once, but they will be representing three blue-light services.

Laura Birbeck and Laman Warburton are the region’s community safety responders (CSR).

They will work for Durham Constabulary as PCSOs, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service as retained firefighters and as first responders for the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

It is believed to be only the second project of its kind in the country and was part funded through the national Police Innovation Fund.

The scheme is designed to increase collaboration between the three services and allow efficiencies without reducing frontline services.

Laura and Laman will be able to undertake policing, fire & rescue and ambulance service response activities from their base within the police station in Stanhope, Weardale and are signed up until March 2017.

Here 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 lead on PCSO training, Fire on firefighter training and NEAS on co-responder training.

Laura, 26, 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, 23, has worked for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service since June 2014 as a vulnerable persons advocate.

Sarah Nattrass, area manager for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Laura and Laman have the expertise and local knowledge to enable them to succeed in these pioneering roles.

“Laura, who has been based in Stanhope as a retained firefighter for a number of years, and Laman, who was previously a community safety officer with the fire service, will be trained to provide the full range of skills needed to deliver a comprehensive emergency first response in Weardale.

“We look forward to analysing the results of this latest innovative collaboration between police, ambulance and fire service in this area.”

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 & Rescue Services will mean that there are more resources available to the public in their time of need.” 

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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