WE expect our emergency services to be ready for emergencies.
Now it seems they could be used to check on people in their homes where “concerns” have been raised. For example, an ambulance crew might raise the alarm if they have been called to a house but the person is not answering the door. At the moment police would respond to break down the door but stretched resources in the police mean firefighters could be asked to step in.
This is a nonsense. This approach will simply push the problem on to another emergency service. These services are precious, and expensive and we need to use them wisely.
Of course there is a problem to be solved here. We strive for people to live independently in their own homes or being cared for in the community, whatever their medical need, and from time to time they will need to be some specialist intervention. But you wouldn’t send an orthopaedic surgeon to put a plaster on so we need to pay for the right people to deal with this situation.
As Dave Williams, chair of the Yorkshire branch of the Fire Brigade’s Union said: “If this is because there aren’t enough police to attend these incidents, the question should probably be why isn’t enough money being spent on policing?”
Isn’t this just the kind of thing that special constables could deal with?