Firearms officers prepare student paramedics for major risks

Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit officers training support student paramedics

Published on 08 August 2019

From terrorist threats and road traffic accidents to a person threatening to self-harm, Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit officers are prepared for life-threatening scenarios every day of the year. Their training involves trauma based first-aid skills and they currently have 60 firearms officers trained at an enhanced level of first-aid qualification.

Their expertise and experience was delivered on campus during presentations and talks to second year students on the University’s Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care degree. There was also an opportunity for the students to demonstrate their skills in the aftermath of a mock terrorism incident, reinforcing the timing and role they play to save lives on the scene.

“We wanted to show our trainee paramedics how they would work closely with firearms officers during a terrorist incident,” explained Barry Evans, senior lecturer in Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care.

“Historically paramedics would be the last in the Multi Agency Response to deal, see or treat the patient on scene. Now with the support and guidance from the Firearms officers and Multi Agency Teams, paramedics enter the scene under strict supervision and strict authority once the threat has been removed.”

He added: “We wanted to get this into their training early, as the role of the modern paramedic is changing, it’s much more multi-disciplinary.

“No longer are paramedics simply in ambulances dealing with the medically unwell patient. They are now required and used in GP surgeries, Off-Shore, Armed Forces, Close Protection roles in the UK and overseas and playing an important role in Terrorist Incidents facing all risk possibilities and they have to be prepared for every scenario.

“We equip them to meet the challenges of modern paramedic practice, enabling them to deal with unpredictable situations competently and confidently.”

Firearms trainers Sean Wheatley and Adrian Chadwick, from the Tactical Training Centre, gave the briefings at the University’s Shackleton House.

Police Constable Wheatley said: “We wanted to give the students an understanding of the role the firearms officers play in all manner of policing incidents before the paramedics arrive on scene and we have made the area safe for them to move in. Once the threat has been removed, and we have managed the early stages of life-threatening trauma, it buys vital time for the emergency services to treat patients on scene, this is down to our own first aid training, which includes some officers trained to an advanced level.”

Police Constable Chadwick added: “We hope the students took away a valuable insight into our work and they can take this into their own role once they’re fully qualified. They saw first-hand how the emergency service co-operate together at the scene of a major incident, which is vital to the successful outcome of an operation.”

Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit includes various teams and departments, and consists of officers and staff from Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police. They shares work on roads policing, firearms incidents, dog training and vehicle thefts.

Find out more about the University’s Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care degree.