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Halifax Street Angels - Health & Safety Policy

Adopted: 13 Sept 2013

This document was originally written by James Clayton on the 3rd October 2007, and revised by Michael Bedford of ML Services And Training Ltd, on the 18th December 2007. This section is intended to act as a guide and reference to allow Halifax Street Angels to operate in a safe and legal way.

A minimum of three Street Angels are to remain in the church hall at all times, with at least one of each sex present. One of the Street Angels in the base should be monitoring the town centre radio. Access to the Street Angel base is to be restricted to Duty Personnel and welcome invited guests. Fire doors are not to be propped open with anything, especially fire extinguishers, which are to remain in their correct locations. All volunteers are required to be aware of the fire exit at the far end of the room.

Street Angel patrols are to be carried out in teams of three minimum. A patrol must have at least one of each sex and usually a First Aider. Each patrol group is to carry one CCTV radio. When on patrol florescent Halifax Street Angels jackets or vests must be worn, in order that volunteers are clearly identifiable to both the public and each other. Street Angels are not to get involved in any violent incident. Volunteers should keep their distance and witness what is happening. If appropriate, use the radio system or a mobile phone to contact the police. The safety of volunteers is paramount, and no unnecessary risks should be taken. Street Angels are not police and have no legal powers. All incidents witnessed by, or involving, Street Angels volunteers must be recorded. If emergency services are required, Street Angels will radio in to CCTV to request police, if needed, the patrol First Aider will decide when an ambulance is required. Street Angels are volunteers, and are present to support the public but not to replace the work of the uniformed services and other agencies

Incident Record
Please give as much detail as possible (time, place, numbers etc) but do not give full names of those helped; only first names, unless you are assisting First Aiders, in which case follow the First Aiders request. Our recording is to protect Street Angel volunteers and ensure that any queries can be easily answered. We need to respect confidentiality at all times, unless there is a legal need for the information. The incident document also needs to have names of volunteers recorded. Police may occasionally take statements about incidents witnessed - if this leads to court attendance this will be personal choice as to whether you accept or decline.

All incidents must be recorded in the log book. Record all injuries to Street Angels in the Accident Report book. This is a requirement under Health and Safety Executive rules. If someone is treated the First Aiders will complete a Patient Report Form (PRF).

Any injury, no matter how small, if caused by exposure to sharps (needles etc), must be recorded in the Accident Report book, the project manager should be alerted, and the individual should be referred to a doctor. Whilst on patrol no Street Angel shall pick up any needles.

Possible Exposure to Blood and/or Body Fluids

If Street Angels are to pick up any bottles from the streets, then thick gloves must be worn. All waste gloves or any items used to clean any body fluids must be disposed of in the First Aiders yellow biohazard bags

No smoking in the caf of directly outside the cafe at any time or whilst on patrol. This applies both to volunteers and to visitors.

Volunteers are NOT permitted to drink alcoholic beverages during their time on duty, and must not be under the influence of alcohol when on duty. No alcoholic drinks are to be brought into the base by volunteers or visitors. Visitors should leave bottles, etc. outside if they wish to come in.

Illegal Drugs
No volunteers are to take illegal drugs during their time on duty, and must not be under the influence of illegal drugs when on duty. No illegal drugs will be tolerated in the cafe at all. Any breach of this rule will result in the person being asked to leave / ejected from the caf.

Physical / Sexual Assaults

When we come across someone who says they are a victim of sexual assault: It must be assumed that what the victim says is true. We need to treat the person with understanding and ensure their comfort and well-being. It is good practice to let them speak to a person of the same gender. If possible it should be someone who has had training to deal with this situation.

Physical / Sexual Assaults (Cont.)

To protect evidence we need to encourage the victim to refrain from washing, changing clothing or visiting the toilet - though we cannot stop them. If the assault involved oral sex then encourage the victim to refrain from drinking and clearing out the mouth as this too could destroy evidence. The victim can be male or female - treat both with the same respect. Street Angels need to contact the police straight away (check with the person this is ok with them, if they are under 18 you must warn them that you have to report the assault regardless of what they say). Clothing should not be removed unless it is done by a First Aider to treat an immediately life threatening injury, and only that injury should be treated. Anything removed should be individually sealed in a clean biohazard bag, in accordance with current UK guidelines. Leave questions to the police - do not ask leading questions, take in depth notes of any conversations that take place with Street Angels, as this can be used as evidence.