Paramedics team up with police to tackle city’s drunks

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A PILOT scheme is taking place in Bradford aimed at trying to ease the pressures placed on the police and ambulance services by alcohol-related incidents.

The idea is for the late-night pairing of a paramedic and an officer to provide a quick response to people with alcohol-related illnesses or injuries.

West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have joined forces for the initiative which will operate on Friday and Saturday nights – times when 999 calls to both services increase.

Inspector Kevin Pickles says this latest trial works to alleviate the pressure on resources and releases valuable time of police officers and ambulance staff.

He said: “By working together, we can quickly resolve incidents there and then which require the assistance of the police.

“Although we do not have a great number of such instances, when they do occur, they can often take up a considerable amount of time.

“This might be having to wait with those who are ill or injured until the paramedics arrive.

“Likewise, paramedics could require police assistance to deal with someone who is drunk and aggressive, which can also take additional time.

“Whilst we are dealing with any instances of anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder, the paramedic can safely enter the environment and provide early medical assessment and treatment to those who are injured.

“Through this joint approach, we can have an instant impact and be quickly ready to respond to further calls.”

Richard Waterman, A&E locality manager for the Bradford area at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, says the scheme is a “win-win” situation for both services and the public:

He said: “Unfortunately, a lot of the 999 calls received in busy town and city centres on evenings at weekends are alcohol-related and are usually for those who have had too much to drink, fallen over, or got into a fight.

“Most of the time, these people only require treatment for minor cuts or bruises so the benefits of this scheme is that it allows the paramedic to treat patients at the scene with the reassurance that the police are on hand to handle any difficult situations and keep public order.”