Special training in security offered to hospital staff

The Metropolitan Police Service is to train hospital staff to help patrol hospital grounds and increase security.

HospitalWatch will see support and security staff from the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in the London Borough of Camden being trained as special constables to work alongside experienced officers, patrolling their own hospital sites.

The scheme works by the trust allowing their support staff paid time off to patrol with experienced officers in and around their hospital one day every fortnight.

The members of hospital staff who volunteer will have the same powers as regular officers.

As part of their training they will be taught leadership skills, confidence and how to deal with difficult and sometimes confrontational situations that they might encounter both in their role as a ‘special’ and in their day job.

Andrew Way, chief executive of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, said: “A great deal of work has already been done within the trust to improve the security of staff and patients and we are delighted to be signing up to the HospitalWatch scheme.

“We hope that doing so will help to reassure local concerns about crime within the Royal Free and to raise the profile of security within the organisation,” he said.

“It also offers staff a valuable opportunity to engage with the hospital and their local community in a different way.”

Neil Barrett, head of employer supported policing at the Met, said a number of London NHS trusts were talking to the police about launching similar schemes.

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