Kettering General Hospital and Northamptonshire Police have joined forces to launch the country’s first hospital-based community hub.
The initiative, which is set to be rolled out across the country, will give members of the public the opportunity to speak with officers when they attend the hospital.
It will be staffed by mental health community liaison officers, who are responsible for not only mental health but also for reducing crime and providing reassurance to both visitors and staff.
KGH assistant director of estates and facilities Craig Catterick said of the hub, which opened this week: “It’s been in the pipeline for roughly two years now and we’ve been looking at working with the police at getting a police surgery into the hospital.
“Over the past four or five months it’s all come to fruition and I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to do.
“This is a prime place for such a centre and it’s the way forward as far as I’m concerned.
“Just having a police presence on site is very good for staff and patients as it makes them feel at ease.”
One of those playing a key part in the project is PC Steve Beal, who has worked in policing the hospital for nearly 19 years.
He said staff working in the hub will help to intervene in any problems which may arise at the hospital.
He said: “There are some people who come to hospital and want to commit crime and disorder, so we’re looking to take a positive stance on any offences against NHS staff.
“We have the full support of the hospital and now we’ve got the community hub which is a massive joint enterprise which will only help us.
“As soon as there is an issue where a crime has been identified, we will take steps to stop it and deal with the offenders as robustly as the law allows.”
The hub is located just inside the main entrance to the hospital, and opening hours will be revealed later this week.
Non-executive director Phil Harris-Bridge is excited by the initiative’s future.
He said: “The strategy for the hospital trust is to move ourself away from just being an acute hospital and move towards being a health and wellbeing campus.
“The police are a key organisation that helps us do that so the ability to work closely with them through the hub is a great opportunity for us to move this agenda forward.”