4x4 drivers volunteer to help police during emergencies
05 September 2013
Drivers of 4x4 vehicles from across Sussex are to help police
deal with major emergencies in the county.
An agreement has been signed by Sussex 4x4 Response and Sussex
Police that will see the charity's members support officers at some
Emergencies such as the heavy snow that has fallen in the county
over the last few years have shown the benefit of having an extra
fleet of all-weather vehicles available to the emergency
Under the new agreement, members of Sussex 4x4 Response will
volunteer to help with transportation in difficult conditions at
short notice around the clock.
The roles could include trips such as taking key staff to work
so they can do their jobs, delivering supplies or equipment to
officers involved in operations or helping with search and rescue
It will not involve the volunteers taking on police roles or
dealing with 999 emergencies.
Sussex 4x4 Response already helps NHS staff including doctors
and nurses to get to work or to patients during emergencies when
they might otherwise be unable to get there safely.
The idea was trialled successfully by Sussex Police during the
sudden snowfall in the county in March when Sussex 4x4 Response
volunteers helped get 999 control centre staff to their offices to
keep the emergency telephone system working.
Inspector Andy Kundert, Sussex Police's head of emergency
planning, said: "The Sussex 4x4 Response volunteers could be of
great help in an emergency.
"They will allow us to help more people by reducing the logistical
problems that can be caused by extreme weather or difficult ground
conditions, especially in more rural locations.
"For example, instead of officers being tied up getting staff to
the 999 control centres, they will be able to stay out on patrols
helping members of the public while the volunteers transport the
workers to where they need to be.
"We will be able to concentrate on doing our job of making sure
people stay safe."
Volunteers will have to undergo first aid training, learn
advanced driver skills and be given health and safety guidance
before they can get involved in the scheme.
They will also vetted by the force and will have to sign a
health declaration and confirm their vehicle is in good working
Each will carry an ID card confirming who they are and what
their role is.
In an emergency, senior officers will contact the charity's
co-ordinators who will mobilise as many volunteers as are
The volunteers will not be paid but can claim expenses for any
mileage they do and for basic maintenance on their vehicles on
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "I am
delighted to see this agreement in place between Sussex Police and
Sussex 4x4 Response members, which recognises the vital support
they can provide during certain incidents to help keep residents
"Volunteers play an important role in the communities they serve
and I am seeking to support other schemes like this."
Mike Cook, the chairman of Sussex 4x4 Response, said: "The
signing of this agreement is the culmination of months of
negotiation between Sussex 4x4 Response and Sussex Police.
"We are very pleased that our members' hard work, dedication and
professionalism have been recognised and we look forward to helping
the force in the service of our community."
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