Cornwall’s blue light family has welcomed seven new Tri-Service Safety Officers [TSSOs] who will soon be helping to protect Cornish communities and responding to emergency incidents.

The Tri-Service Safety Officer (TSSO) role is unique to Cornwall. First piloted with just one officer in 2014, the innovative model has proven a huge success. With the addition of the seven recruits, there will now be 13 TSSOs working in communities across the county.

The officers, who wear grey uniforms while on duty, respond to 999 emergency calls as a firefighter on behalf of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), and a Community 1st Responder on behalf of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT). They also deal with non-immediate Devon and Cornwall Police community safety matters and work alongside Cornwall Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team to manage issues within the communities they serve.

For the first time, TSSOs will be based in Helston, Callington and Torpoint. The remaining officers are stationed in Bude, Liskeard, Looe/Polruan, Lostwithiel, Fowey, St Dennis, Perranporth, Hayle, St Ives and St Just.

A formal passing out ceremony was held on Friday September 24 to welcome the new officers to the service, which is jointly funded by CFRS, SWASFT and Devon and Cornwall Police.

Representatives from CFRS, SWASFT, Devon and Cornwall Police, and Cornwall Council, as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall and the High Sheriff of Cornwall, joined the new recruits and their families during the ceremony on Friday, September 24.

TSSO Ella Henwood, who will be based in Callington, said: “As a kid, if you’d describe my dream job it would be this but back then it didn’t exist whereas now tri-service brings in all the services. I previously worked for the RNLI on the beaches and I loved the response side of things; helping people, talking to the community. When this job came up, I really wanted to do it.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said: “We have our most innovative scheme that we have ever created here in Cornwall. We have had the passing out parade for seven individuals who are going to be Tri-Service Safety Officers.

“If you see them out in your communities, in the rural areas – we’ve got 13 altogether – we really hope that you appreciate the support that they give you from a police, fire and ambulance perspective. They are there to make sure you are safe and well and you will see them out on the streets soon.”

Kathryn Billing, Chief Fire Officer at CFRS, said TSSOs are at the heart of our communities. “They are in the most rurally isolated areas where we struggle to recruit our on-call firefighters but not only that, they are connecting communities,” she said.

“They are looking after some of the most vulnerable people; going into their homes, keeping them safe, keeping them well. They are ensuring that the communities they serve are as vibrant as they can be, as safe as they can be and as resilient and connected as they can be.”

Geoff Griffin, County Commander for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly at SWASFT, said: “The officers will be sited in the most rural of locations and through interaction with their new communities they will be able to identify patients who may need additional support. In the long term we hope this will reduce demand on the ambulance service, preventing unnecessary attendances or admissions into an already busy health and social care system.

“The biggest impact of these officers will be in prevention, supporting people to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible. They will also be able to respond to the most serious types of emergency incidents, such as cardiac arrests and strokes in the very rural areas, commencing lifesaving interventions ahead of the arrival of an ambulance. We are proud to be part of this initiative.”

Chief Superintendent Jo Arundale, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The investment in Tri-Service Safety Officers represents an exciting opportunity to integrate further with our emergency partners and serve the communities of Cornwall.

“The value of the TSSO role is already proven, and the recruitment of a further seven officers means greater accessibility to services when the public need them.”

Councillor Martyn Alvey, portfolio holder for Public Protection at Cornwall Council, said: “This is a first not just for Cornwall but nationally. There is nowhere else in the country where there are tri-service officers. This is an initiative born out of Cornwall and police forces, ambulance services and fire and rescue services from across the country are now talking to us and trying to learn how they can replicate what has proven to be an incredibly successful model."