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Fire and police collaboration benefits local communities

Today the fire and police services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve joint working between Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service and The Isles of Scilly Fire & Rescue Service

The MOU confirms the already excellent working relationship between the police and fire service and how communities will receive greater benefit from further collaborative working on safety initiatives. For example, shared intelligence will assist in reducing the risk of deliberate fire setting and anti-social behaviour. These are just two of the benefits to the public that will be supported by the MOU.

Police & Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “Partnership working is a key part of my police and crime plan.  Closer collaboration between the police and local fire and rescue services is specifically highlighted in the plan, and there are already many examples across Devon and Cornwall where this is working extremely well.

“This operational collaboration will bring further benefits for our communities, and I am delighted that this is moving forward so quickly.”

Lee Howell Chief Fire Officer for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “This latest development really embeds our shared vision to continue to work more closely together. We already work very closely operationally, in training, on special projects and by sharing facilities and expertise. This gives us a strong base to build on as we consider further collaboration.”

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “We welcome these plans to establish closer working relationships between the police and fire services across Devon and Cornwall in a number of operational fields. By working together in greater collaboration, all services involved are seeking the best outcomes for the communities in which we serve. This new MOU will allow a better coordinated response to calls from the public and enable a comprehensive use of our data to identify and help those most vulnerable in society.”

CFO Paul Walker, Director of Resilient Cornwall, said “I am genuinely proud of the wide reaching extent of collaborative working with emergency service colleagues across the south west region. This is based on excellent working relationships and a desire to make a real positive difference to residents, businesses and visitors across our region. We have a superb track record of innovative partnership working and this MOU adds new areas to our established list of collaborative projects and activities.”

Fire and Police collaborations

High risk missing person searches
This will allow the police to use fire service resources (Urban Search and Rescue team – USAR) to assist in searching for high risk missing people. This includes using different search techniques depending on the missing person condition i.e. Dementia, possible suicide, etc. There has already been significant success with both fire and police being deployed.

Fire station access
A pilot is taking place in 17 fire stations within rural communities in Devon for the police to use the welfare facilities and to use the fire station to interview members of the public who prefer not to visit a police station.  This allows for greater community engagement, resilience, flexibility and financial savings to both services. It will also allow the community to have more opportunity to contribute and receive information on safety in their local areas. This pilot scheme is due to complete at the end of May.

The emergency services in the South West has always worked well together. The government is committed to driving collaboration between the emergency services to deliver more effective and efficient services to the public.