Under-pressure Hampshire police '˜taking patients to hospital' due to ambulance delays

THE man who represents rank-and-file police has said pressure on police will increase under a new deal with the ambulance service.

The News revealed that special constables in Country Watch at Hampshire police would be trained to deal with medical emergencies as co-responders.

Hampshire Police Federation chairman, John Apter, criticised the move but has now released a further statement – saying police officers are already having to take patients to hospital due to a struggling ambulance service.

He said: ‘Delays have been so bad that on occasions police officers will take those requiring emergency medical care to hospital themselves.

‘For the police to be used as co-responders, which would mean officers being deployed to a medical emergency, is simply papering over the cracks of a failing ambulance service.

‘Policing has never been under so much pressure, our numbers are down but our demand is up. Police officers struggle to cope with the demand already placed on us.’

He added special constables do a ‘fantastic job’ but acting as a reserve for the ambulance service is ‘risky’.

The special constabulary said the training would ‘upskill’ their officers.