'We're not paramedics', says police chief as he backs call for action over Bolton woman's death

Ch Con Peter Fahy

Ch Con Peter Fahy

First published in Politics The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

THE chief constable of Greater Manchester Police has backed a mother’s calls for paramedics to be trained in control and restraint techniques after her daughter died from an accidental overdose.

Sir Peter Fahy said he is concerned that police officers are becoming a “default option” for certain medical emergencies with staff being drawn into “high risk medical emergencies”.

The chief constable was responding to a report by Bolton Coroner Jennifer Leeming following an inquest into the death of 31-year-old mother Caroline Pilkington, who died at the Royal Bolton Hospital in April last year after accidentally over-dosing on the beta-blocker propranolol.

Before her death, Ms Pilkington had been violently fitting at her home in Moss Bank Way and paramedics called police to help restrain her so they could take her to hospital.

The inquest heard that neither the restraining process, nor the extra time allowed for police officers to attend the scene contributed to Ms Pilkington’s death, who had ingested a fatal amount of propranolol.

But Ms Leeming said “it did not sit comfortably” that officers are routinely called to such situations and questioned whether it should be a police service.

During the inquest Ms Pilkington’s mother, Deborah Pilkington, called for paramedics to be trained in control and restraint techniques.

The coroner’s proposals were also sent to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the North West Ambulance Service.

In his response to Ms Leeming, Sir Peter Fahy said: “I share your concerns about the involvement of police officers in such situations and I have been concerned for some time about the increasing demand that is falling on police from gaps in health services.

“While police officers are trained in restraint, I would suggest that medical emergencies are different — calling police to deal with such emergency situations will cause delay and potentially endanger the patient through failure to take action.”

He added that he agreed with the coroner’s proposals and would be happy to support NWAS in terms of any training initiatives.

But a response from NWAS acting head of legal services, James Down, suggested that control and restraint techniques are “extremely specialised”.

A letter from the Health Secretary agreed, with Mr Hunt stating that, after discussions with NWAS, he believes their paramedics “rightly rely on the North West police forces” to provide control and restraint services when necessary and that it would be “neither appropriate nor beneficial” to train all ambulance staff in the techniques.

Further responses are expected, but Mrs Pilkington, aged 55, who currently lives in Majorca, said: “I don’t feel like I have had any closure for Caroline’s death — I still feel like this problem is going to affect other families and I won’t be happy until something is changed.”

Comments (16)

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7:03am Fri 20 Jun 14

oftbewildered2 says...

the Police Service is being used inappropriately by other services - they are not paramedics, neither are they social workers - and as long as they are drawn into such situations, they are not free to carry out the job for which they are paid - attending to crime. There are only so many officers on duty at any one time, and if they are being called in to resolve disputes etc. etc. etc. or sit with someone who is reported to have self harmed because the ambulance service cannot deploy a vehicle, they have a duty of care and the real criminals are being left on the back burner until there is someone available to attend. The public do not see this side of things. All they know is that they have asked for police assistance and none is forthcoming - they cannot be told the reason for that being that all available officers are deployed elsewhere, to all intents and purposes doing someone else's job
the Police Service is being used inappropriately by other services - they are not paramedics, neither are they social workers - and as long as they are drawn into such situations, they are not free to carry out the job for which they are paid - attending to crime. There are only so many officers on duty at any one time, and if they are being called in to resolve disputes etc. etc. etc. or sit with someone who is reported to have self harmed because the ambulance service cannot deploy a vehicle, they have a duty of care and the real criminals are being left on the back burner until there is someone available to attend. The public do not see this side of things. All they know is that they have asked for police assistance and none is forthcoming - they cannot be told the reason for that being that all available officers are deployed elsewhere, to all intents and purposes doing someone else's job oftbewildered2
  • Score: 24

9:58am Fri 20 Jun 14

marcowalke says...

create a crash team at the N.H.S, that are trained to respond and restrain such people, surely that is the answer to the solution?
create a crash team at the N.H.S, that are trained to respond and restrain such people, surely that is the answer to the solution? marcowalke
  • Score: 12

10:08am Fri 20 Jun 14

Endoxa says...

Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).
Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular). Endoxa
  • Score: 2

10:10am Fri 20 Jun 14

Boltonresident2012 says...

If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description?

Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.
If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful. Boltonresident2012
  • Score: -1

10:22am Fri 20 Jun 14

Wolfie190 says...

Sir Peter Fahy chief of greater Manchester police and the guy who looked the other way (swept under the carpet) when under age English girls are getting drugged and gang raped by Muslim immigrants.
Sir Peter Fahy chief of greater Manchester police and the guy who looked the other way (swept under the carpet) when under age English girls are getting drugged and gang raped by Muslim immigrants. Wolfie190
  • Score: -4

10:44am Fri 20 Jun 14

Lancashire always says...

Boltonresident2012 wrote:
If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.
Call a Paramedic !!

The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low.
These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.
[quote][p][bold]Boltonresident2012[/bold] wrote: If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.[/p][/quote]Call a Paramedic !! The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low. These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them. Lancashire always
  • Score: 18

10:52am Fri 20 Jun 14

Boltonresident2012 says...

Lancashire always wrote:
Boltonresident2012 wrote:
If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.
Call a Paramedic !!

The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low.
These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.
I am not having a bash at them - they have a difficult job to do.

With what you say, would it not be useful for paramedics to have self defence training anyway - they sometimes have difficult situations to deal with?
[quote][p][bold]Lancashire always[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boltonresident2012[/bold] wrote: If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.[/p][/quote]Call a Paramedic !! The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low. These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.[/p][/quote]I am not having a bash at them - they have a difficult job to do. With what you say, would it not be useful for paramedics to have self defence training anyway - they sometimes have difficult situations to deal with? Boltonresident2012
  • Score: 7

12:18pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Blackrod says...

Endoxa wrote:
Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).
Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services.
[quote][p][bold]Endoxa[/bold] wrote: Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).[/p][/quote]Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services. Blackrod
  • Score: 6

1:03pm Fri 20 Jun 14

cliff4treasurer says...

The public services should work together and use the training they receive where appropriate.
The next time someone has a fit in a police cell there parents should call for police officers to be trained in medical processes and I am sure the NHS can offer the training (at a fee of course) how does that sound Mr Fahey?
Another article on here has 4 police vehicles attending an RTA where no one was seriously injured or killed, overkill? You decide, the best use of resources? You decide.
The public services should work together and use the training they receive where appropriate. The next time someone has a fit in a police cell there parents should call for police officers to be trained in medical processes and I am sure the NHS can offer the training (at a fee of course) how does that sound Mr Fahey? Another article on here has 4 police vehicles attending an RTA where no one was seriously injured or killed, overkill? You decide, the best use of resources? You decide. cliff4treasurer
  • Score: -4

1:14pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Lancashire always says...

Boltonresident2012 wrote:
Lancashire always wrote:
Boltonresident2012 wrote: If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.
Call a Paramedic !! The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low. These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.
I am not having a bash at them - they have a difficult job to do. With what you say, would it not be useful for paramedics to have self defence training anyway - they sometimes have difficult situations to deal with?
Yes i beleive they should have self defence skills.

Also Plumbing skills for when they have to pull a child from behind a radiator this would save calling out the fire brigade `also perhaps carry anti venom incase some one falls over drunk gets stung by a bee and goes into anaphalactic Shock when they are allergic to them ` whilst trying to treat them two trained officers are losing their grip goes into a violent karate induced attack i think all proffesionals dealing with unintentional violence against our 4 main services should be tought the Vulcan death grip where the victim gently falls to the floor in a deep sleep.
[quote][p][bold]Boltonresident2012[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lancashire always[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boltonresident2012[/bold] wrote: If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.[/p][/quote]Call a Paramedic !! The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low. These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.[/p][/quote]I am not having a bash at them - they have a difficult job to do. With what you say, would it not be useful for paramedics to have self defence training anyway - they sometimes have difficult situations to deal with?[/p][/quote]Yes i beleive they should have self defence skills. Also Plumbing skills for when they have to pull a child from behind a radiator this would save calling out the fire brigade `also perhaps carry anti venom incase some one falls over drunk gets stung by a bee and goes into anaphalactic Shock when they are allergic to them ` whilst trying to treat them two trained officers are losing their grip goes into a violent karate induced attack i think all proffesionals dealing with unintentional violence against our 4 main services should be tought the Vulcan death grip where the victim gently falls to the floor in a deep sleep. Lancashire always
  • Score: 3

1:44pm Fri 20 Jun 14

markg138 says...

Why can't the police be trained as first responders like here in the US. Many times the police will show up before the ambulance and in some cases can start treating the patient, especially when it's time sensitive like a heart attack or stroke.
Why can't the police be trained as first responders like here in the US. Many times the police will show up before the ambulance and in some cases can start treating the patient, especially when it's time sensitive like a heart attack or stroke. markg138
  • Score: 6

6:09pm Fri 20 Jun 14

steveG says...

This public service disease which manifests itself in an "its not my job" culture,prevalent in our society for 30 years, has got to end.
This public service disease which manifests itself in an "its not my job" culture,prevalent in our society for 30 years, has got to end. steveG
  • Score: -2

7:17pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Endoxa says...

Blackrod wrote:
Endoxa wrote:
Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).
Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services.
In A&E or hospital mental health wards there is immediate backup available, usually summonsed by a panic button or the like. Don't think you'd have the same backup on the street! In any event, the acid test - the experts (ambulance service) don't think it's a good idea...
[quote][p][bold]Blackrod[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Endoxa[/bold] wrote: Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).[/p][/quote]Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services.[/p][/quote]In A&E or hospital mental health wards there is immediate backup available, usually summonsed by a panic button or the like. Don't think you'd have the same backup on the street! In any event, the acid test - the experts (ambulance service) don't think it's a good idea... Endoxa
  • Score: 0

9:53pm Fri 20 Jun 14

swampy1960 says...

Lancashire always wrote:
Boltonresident2012 wrote:
If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.
Call a Paramedic !!

The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low.
These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.
nobody is bashing anyone. i ride a motorcycle and most riders get head damage that causes them to fit, do you think i want to lye at the side of the road bleeding to death because a paramedic cannot restrain me and is waiting as in carolines case 35 minutes for a police man to turn up with restraints. and for the record the first police officer to turn up didnt yes i repeat didnt have any restraint so had to call for another officer. put yourself in this situation before bad comments.
[quote][p][bold]Lancashire always[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boltonresident2012[/bold] wrote: If police do not have basic training what do they do if they have someone in custody who has a fit of some description? Basic training/first aid seems very logical to me. Add to that awareness raising of understanding whether someone in the street is drunk or has a medical condition could be useful.[/p][/quote]Call a Paramedic !! The woman was violently fitting and had to be restrained by officers as the Paramedics are not trained in self defence sorry for the loss of your daughter but to put the blame on people who where genuinly using all available sources to save your daughters life as incompetence is a bit low. These are dedicated people i wish people would stop having a bash at them.[/p][/quote]nobody is bashing anyone. i ride a motorcycle and most riders get head damage that causes them to fit, do you think i want to lye at the side of the road bleeding to death because a paramedic cannot restrain me and is waiting as in carolines case 35 minutes for a police man to turn up with restraints. and for the record the first police officer to turn up didnt yes i repeat didnt have any restraint so had to call for another officer. put yourself in this situation before bad comments. swampy1960
  • Score: 4

10:29pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Blackrod says...

Endoxa wrote:
Blackrod wrote:
Endoxa wrote:
Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).
Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services.
In A&E or hospital mental health wards there is immediate backup available, usually summonsed by a panic button or the like. Don't think you'd have the same backup on the street! In any event, the acid test - the experts (ambulance service) don't think it's a good idea...
The police still get called into these areas when required and panic buttons are only as good as the batteries in them or when put in an easy to reach place. The difference is they take responsibility for their patients routine needs by training. However, building on your point, why do they not have a panic button (thought they did)?? Not saying police should never respond, I would also support following the ambulances when known patients who assault healthcare workers but ultimately this is/was part of patient care we are talking about BEFORE the police could arrive. (caps as emphasis not shouting)
[quote][p][bold]Endoxa[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Blackrod[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Endoxa[/bold] wrote: Not often I agree with Jeremy Hunt but for once he has got it right - it's the police's job to deal with violent situations and paramedics DESERVE their support. I'm sick of Peter Fahy complaining about having to do the job that police officers are supposed to do. If there are insufficient resources then he should be making the case and fighting for more - that's HIS job. And where does the illustrious Police Commissioner stand on this? (probably on the fence in case his opinion makes him unpopular).[/p][/quote]Police restraints and restraints by the health service differ. The NHS teaches this to mental health services and A&E so why not other health providers on a front line service like the ambulance service?? Head injuries, diabetic emergencies, recovery from seizures and dementia are conditions when restraint may be needed via health not police services.[/p][/quote]In A&E or hospital mental health wards there is immediate backup available, usually summonsed by a panic button or the like. Don't think you'd have the same backup on the street! In any event, the acid test - the experts (ambulance service) don't think it's a good idea...[/p][/quote]The police still get called into these areas when required and panic buttons are only as good as the batteries in them or when put in an easy to reach place. The difference is they take responsibility for their patients routine needs by training. However, building on your point, why do they not have a panic button (thought they did)?? Not saying police should never respond, I would also support following the ambulances when known patients who assault healthcare workers but ultimately this is/was part of patient care we are talking about BEFORE the police could arrive. (caps as emphasis not shouting) Blackrod
  • Score: 4

1:23pm Sat 21 Jun 14

berushka says...

So the Police think it isn't their job? Okay, the next time a Paramedic gets smacked in the mouth, kicked, spat upon or any one of the many other forms of violence and abuse they encounter, and instinctively ritalerate, make sure they are not charged or threatened with disciplinary action. Responding to some drunk in Breightmet and then finding oneself at the end of abuse is not what they are paid for either, Mr Chief Constable!
So the Police think it isn't their job? Okay, the next time a Paramedic gets smacked in the mouth, kicked, spat upon or any one of the many other forms of violence and abuse they encounter, and instinctively ritalerate, make sure they are not charged or threatened with disciplinary action. Responding to some drunk in Breightmet and then finding oneself at the end of abuse is not what they are paid for either, Mr Chief Constable! berushka
  • Score: -1

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