The Police Ambulance

As we celebrate 72 years since the creation of the NHS today - let's take a little look back at when the police ran the ambulances.

Police officers have long been trained with extensive first aid skills - in the late 1800s the officers in Birmingham City Police were all required to hold a St John's Ambulance certificate, evidenced by the symbol of the cross on the arm of their tunic. Officers were also released overseas to Africa to work as stretcher bearers during the Boer War.

In the early 1900s forces around the West Midlands purchased vehicles that operated as police ambulances, with officers being responsible for delivering first aid and transporting patients in need of emergency treatment to hospital. This lasted until dedicated local ambulance services were created in line with the birth of the NHS in 1948 - sometimes in partnership with the Fire Service such as the Birmingham Fire and Ambulance Service.

The pictures below show the very tall PC James Jones of Wolverhampton Borough Police demonstrating to an interested public 'how we take patients to the horse pickle':

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