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02 July 2018
Police Community Support Officers are taking on new responsibilites in a trial to see if they can provide back-up to firefighters.
Simon Ward, a PCSO in Salisbury, Wiltshire and Mark Braithwaite in Marlborough are to carry fire pagers and respond to fire call-outs in a six month long experiment.
Trained as retained firefighters, both have received additional training to carry out 'safe and well' visits in addition to fire and police duties.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Wiltshire Police say that the project will improve the force's ability to meet community needs as well as deliver efficiencies and savings.
"The officers' core role remains as PCSOs but they will receive additional training allowing them to increase community safety, performing safe and well checks in vulnerable people's homes, as well as referring commercial fire safety issues," commented Wiltshire's assistant chief constable Gavin Williams.
"The two pilot project PCSOs are already retained firefighters so we believe that this trial period will enable us to gain a tangible insight into whether this should be rolled out force wide."
Ben Ansell, the chief fire officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire Rescue Service, said the move was "the next exciting step in collaboration between the fire service and police.
"We continue to face challenges with recruiting on-call firefighters and this innovative approach to service delivery is an excellent example of implementing collaborative working initiatives that are both in line with government thinking and provide real benefit to local communities."