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Special Constable to Patrol Hospital Grounds

Date:        Monday, April 25, 2005
Time:        3.30pm
Venue:      Education Centre, West Suffolk Hospital (meet in the foyer)

A Special Constable will start patrolling the grounds of West Suffolk Hospital this week. The constable is very familiar with the site, because he is training at the hospital to be a nurse.

Russell Hartnett has been a special constable for five and a half years. He normally carries out his duties as a special constable in the town centre but in this way he can combine his studies and shift work as a student nurse and his extra curricular activities as a special.

Trust bosses are thrilled that Russell has decided to stay on at the hospital after his shifts to patrol the site. The hospital has been the target of thieves who have ripped out the £4,000 pay machines in the car park, to get away with around £100.

Steve Moore, the Trustıs Director of Facilities, said: "Russellıs interest in carrying out his patrols at the hospital as part of his duties as a special has been warmly welcomed.

"We have had our car park pay machines stolen twice in the last few months and we hope that a visible police presence will deter these types of crimes.

"As a special Russell has the same powers and training as a qualified police officer, with the added benefit that he knows his way around the hospital site and many of the staff who work here."

Russell, 42, lives near Bury St Edmunds and is in his third year as a student nurse at West Suffolk Hospital. Before that he worked as a patient transport service driver for East Anglian Ambulance Trust at Addenbrookeıs Hospital in Cambridge.

He has spent the last two years as a special constable assigned to Bury police station and before that three and a half years at the Bury rural base at Ickworth police station. He has to give 16 hours of his spare time a month to be a special.

Russell said: "I love being a student nurse and I also have a great passion for what I do as a special outside work. This is a great way of combining both roles and helping the hospital at the same time.

"My duties as a special do not affect my ability to study as a student nurse and the two roles I undertake are very different but compliment each other.  

"I am hoping that my regular presence at the hospital will make people more comfortable about walking around the site especially at night and deter opportunistic crimes such as the targeting of the car park pay machines."

PC Jon Warby, community police officer for Southgate and Westgate wards in Bury - an area that includes West Suffolk Hospital, said: "I have worked with Russell a lot since I became a community police officer. Bury Police works very closely with the hospital and any initiative that gives the hospital a greater police presence is very welcome. High visibility patrols reassure the public.

"I regularly carry out patrols at the hospital and I encourage other officers to do the same."


20 April 2005




West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust