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Kent’s emergency services unite against dementia

Emergency Services unite against Dementia
Signing the joint strategic commitment

19 May 2017

The national organisations representing all emergency services across the United Kingdom (UK) have signed up to unite against dementia during Dementia Awareness Week (14-20 May).

On Thursday 18 May, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) signed a joint strategic commitment to work towards being dementia friendly organisations by:

  • Internally developing their people, places and processes

  • Externally ensuring a dementia friendly service is delivered to the community who come into contact with the emergency services

Following this signing at a strategic level, all fire, police and ambulance chiefs across the UK will be encouraged to come together and sign the commitment at a local level.

The project has been led by Assistant Chief Fire Officer Sean Bone-Knell, the Director Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue Service and thematic lead for public services on the Prime Minister’s Challenge group. This group, formed in 2012, are striving to increase the number of dementia friends and dementia friendly communities across the United Kingdom.  

The commitment from emergency services will help bring fire, police and ambulance services together to help support people living with dementia and those caring for people living with dementia in a more cohesive way.

Unite Against Dementia 2.jpg
Emergency services sign a joint strategic commitment

The commitment has been signed by the following leaders representing their professional organisations:

  • Roy Wilsher – Chair of the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC)

  • Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick – National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Lead for Disability
  • Chief Executive Will Hancock – Association of Ambulance Chief Executives(AACE) from South Central Ambulance Service

This year, Alzheimer’s Society is asking people to come together to unite against dementia, forgetting their differences to help urgently find a cure, improve care, and offer help and understanding during Dementia Awareness Week.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Sean Bone-Knell, the Director Operations at Kent Fire and Rescue, said: “Emergency services can support people living with dementia to improve the safety of their homes and make their lives as comfortable as possible. This is also reassuring for people caring for family members or friends. Developing our staff to know more about dementia is vitally important to take every opportunity to assist in whatever situation we encounter. 

“Emergency services are also large employers and developing our staff to understand and how to care for people living with dementia is very important. Our support can be as simple as advice and guidance through to adapting or adjusting polices to give flexibility to staff caring for people in need. 

“Emergency services have a duty to collaborate and this joint commitment will demonstrate to the people we serve we are committed to developing our people, our places and our processes to stand united in the fight against dementia.”  

Portrait of Sean Bone-Knell, Director of Operations
Sean Bone-Knell, Director of Operations

There are 23,921 people are living with dementia in the United Kingdom and Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia.

Jackie Swapp, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for Kent and Medway, said:

“We’re thrilled the emergency services are taking this huge step to help people with dementia within their own communities.

“We’re calling on people across the United Kingdom to show their support during Dementia Awareness Week. Dementia doesn’t care who you are; it could affect us all. It’s set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes, and so many people are facing it alone.

“People with dementia often feel – and are – misunderstood, marginalised and isolated but with the right support and understanding they can continue to live fulfilling lives and make a contribution to their communities. So, unite with us now like the emergency services have.”

The charity provides information and support, to find out more call the National Dementia Helpline or visit

Unite with us now 

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