DORSET’S police community support officers (PCSOs) will be trained as firefighters as part of a new ‘job-swap’ agreement, it has been confirmed.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the idea of officers and fire crews sharing duties was discussed last year. The scheme is now in place, Dorset Police’s top officer says.

At a meeting earlier this week, Chief Constable James Vaughan says firefighters will get involved in some elements of police work under the initiative.

“Community support officers will train as retained fire officials and attend and put out fires,” he said.

“If your house catches fire, you don’t care who turns up as long as they’re there.”

Firefighters will in turn visit homes where there is a concern for an occupant, he said, citing an example of “Betty, who hasn’t been seen for three days”.

“There are 50 of those [calls] a month for us,” he said.

“Fire crews will now go around and break in. They are first aiders and public servants.”

The services will not charge each other for the use of employees, he said.

In 2018, police were called ten times to people who needed to be helped from the bath.

“We will continue to do that – don’t worry – but now it might be the fire brigade helping those people to get up,” Chief Constable Vaughan said.

Each service may also begin sharing buildings or workshops, it was heard.

“There are endless possibilities,” he said.

The scheme was initially mooted in a bid to tackle Dorset Police’s ongoing financial problems.