I have just caught the 10am news on BBC Radio 4. One of the topics and one I have tweeted on already today is the further cuts to policing and how some PCC’s have increased the council tax precept in order to try (and I say “try”) to reduce the impact on the great undefined phrase of “frontline policing”.
Policing in the UK has made savings. I’ve no doubt there are more that can be made that will involve not outsourcing but greater collaboration between forces in areas such as uniform, fleet and IT.
On the news a spokesperson was wheeled in. Sadly I didn’t catch who it was*. He commented on police cuts and then talked about making savings. He gave an example of how money could be saved;
When there is an accident on the motorway we send the police, the ambulance crews and fire service to the scene. All in their own separate and very expensive vehicles. If they were to collaborate and save on those vehicles attending then savings could be made
Now I don’t know about you but in recent days/weeks/months I’ve not heard such misinformed and ignorant hogwash.
All three services have very separate roles, responsibilities and commitments to such a event.
Just imagine a 3 in 1 vehicle. It would need to be huge because the fire engine will need water. It will need a paramedic bay in order to treat casualties and it will need a large crew cab to carry firefighters, paramedics and police. Picture a fire engine… but longer… much longer, heavier and slower.
Now imagine that heavy, large, cumbersome vehicle attending the scene of a fatal pile up on the motorway with all three emergency services onboard. It arrives on the motorway to find a huge tailback. It heads up the hard shoulder and eventually gets to the scene. There are a car and a HGV involved. The truck driver is out of the cab walking wounded but his truck is on fire. The car is crushed into the central barrier. The passenger is dead and the driver is in a very bad way.
The firefighters rush to the fire, the paramedics rush to the casualty and the police begin the laborious process of trying to piece together what happened, maintain the safety of everyone else at the scene and facilitate the clearing of the stationary traffic.
Tick tock.. 20 mins later. The fire service have put the fire out and made all the vehicles safe. They no longer need to be at the scene. They want to go. They can’t leave.
Tick tock.. another 15 minutes. Paramedics have stabilised the casualty and need to get off to hospital immediately. They need to go. They can’t because the police still need to stay there. The Polambulengine 3in1 vehicle is the only thing between the officer maintaining the scene (a potential crime scene) and the traffic still on the motorway.
There is a large rubbish dump fire in a neighbouring town. The firefighters get a “mate pumps 10” call. They have to get to another fire. They can’t. The paramedics have a casualty that desperately needs to get to hospital. They can’t. The police officer wants to help them both but has a responsibility to the scene, the investigation, traffic flow and everyone’s safety.
I don’t need to say anymore… you already know the example given on the radio this morning was absurd. I’d go further. It’s stunning ignorance of what the emergency services do.
Making such ridiculous statements are unhelpful and contemptuous. If you want to know the truth of a situation you need to get information from the horses mouth. Those who do it every single day. Not those who spout suggestions about what professional police officers, paramedics and firefighters should do with no clear knowledge of our roles.
Get the facts from the horses mouth. Not a jackass.
* Since posting the blog it has been brought to my attention that the spokesperson in question was former policing minister Damian Green
The PolAmbulEngine image is courtesy of @martinwoods on Twitter
(Featured image courtesy of Meg_Nicol on Flickr)