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Kent's first purpose-built Joint Response Unit vehicle to be used in Dartford, Gravesham, Medway and Swale

Kent's first purpose-built police and ambulance Joint Response Unit vehicle is on the road.

The car, complete with both Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) badges, will allow officers to work together to respond to incidents which require both services.

Currently running in Medway and Swale, the unit will now also be expanding into Dartford and Gravesham, and operate seven days a week.

The Joint Response Unit will now also operate in Dartford and Gravesham
The Joint Response Unit will now also operate in Dartford and Gravesham

So far, the unit has attended about 700 incidents since its introduction in February last year.

A Mercedes people carrier, provided by SEACAmb, was used by the team until this point.

The new custom-made vehicle is kitted out with everything police need to tackle crime, and medical equipment required by paramedics.

It also has combined blue and green 'Batternberg' paintwork to represent police and paramedics joining forces.

Police officers working at the unit receive medical training and paramedics benefit from conflict resolution training.

This comes as SECAmb is longer in special measures after a Care Quality Commission inspection, in which the joint unit was highlighted as an area of outstanding practice.

At the moment, the service runs on Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm to 2am.

Assaults, crashes and alcohol-related incidents are the most common calls the Joint Response Unit gets.

The first purpose-build Joint Response Unit vehicle
The first purpose-build Joint Response Unit vehicle

Manned by two special constables and a paramedic, the vehicle can respond to around seven jobs during an eight-hour shift.

SECAmb and Kent Police call each other around 15,000 times a year on average, which highlights the need to work together whenever possible.

Superintendent Jason Wenlock said: "The Joint Response Unit is a worthwhile initiative which involves police officers and paramedics travelling together to incidents which may require both areas of expertise, resulting in a more effective and efficient service.

"I am so proud of everything our specials have achieved with this scheme to date, working closely with our partners at SECAmb to provide a more effective and efficient service for members of the public."

Will Bellamy, SECAmb operating unit manager for Dartford and Medway, said: "We are delighted that the scheme is being expanded.

"This collaborative approach has not only been positive for patients and our staff but has led to greater understanding of our respective fields of work.

"This really has been a staff-led initiative and I am so proud of what they have achieved."

Special constables are unpaid volunteers, many of whom have full-time jobs and give up at least 16 hours of their own time every month supporting regular police officers.

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