More pumps, more people and better response times for Fire and Rescue Service
Improvements to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service mean that more fire appliances are available to respond to incidents and they are responding more quickly.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold took over the governance of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) in January 2019 and has supported investment in firefighters and vehicles.
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “We have worked very hard over the last 12 months to make improvements in our service, changing our approach so that we can respond more flexibly and quickly.”
There are now more fire engines available to respond to emergencies – on average 18-20 appliances.Between 7pm and 8pm, this can be around 20-24 appliances, which is important in the evenings, while people are at home.
And appliances are reaching incidents more quickly as average response times have reduced from 11 minutes 15 seconds to just over 10 minutes.
These improvements will be further enhanced by the recruitment of 32 new whole-time firefighters, of whom 12 are brand new posts that will support daytime availability.
This will increase the whole-time strength of NFRS to 254 from 242 fire fighters.
NFRS is also continually recruiting on-call firefighters and have recruited 40 more during both 2018 and 2019, making a massive difference to improving appliance availability.
Stephen Mold said: “Our Fire and Rescue Service has already made tangible strides forward. Moving to my Office has brought stability and certainty that has allowed NFRS to plan and develop, and we are already seeing the results of that. I’m excited that even closer working with Northamptonshire Police will provide opportunities to further enhance the service that the public receive.”
Darren Dovey continued: “One year on from the change in governance, we are in a more stable position, able to invest and make the innovations that we want to make.
New system for compliments and complaints about Northamptonshire Police
The way that complaints and compliments about Northamptonshire Police are dealt with is changing on February 1 to give the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner a much greater role in police complaints, strengthening the independence of the process and increasing public confidence.
From February, any expression of dissatisfaction with the service provided by Northamptonshire Police will be recorded.
This will give the Commissioner a clear overview of the issues that are causing concern to the public.Any lessons to learn will now be captured on a Forcewide basis and passed to the Chief Constable to support on-going improvements.
Complaints made over the phone or online will now generally be received by the PFCC’s Customer Service Team. If the complaints are of a less serious nature – meaning that they don’t contain allegations that would be considered misconduct – then the PFCC’s office will try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
This will usually be by providing the complainant with an explanation or an apology and the assurance that lessons have been learned and shared across the Force.
More serious complaints will be recorded and passed to the Force’s Professional Standards Department to investigate.
These changes will give the public a better, swifter and more consistent service that is clearly independent and that they can have confidence in. And under the new system compliments will also be captured.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said:“I am pleased that my Office now has a stronger role in dealing with less serious complaints about Northamptonshire Police as that clearly underlines the independence of the process and will also allow us to make sure that we use the feedback to improve policing in this county.”
eBay way to generate income
Northamptonshire Police is now on eBay, aiming to generate income in disposing of some of the 110,000 items of stored property that is seized each year – either as potential evidence in an investigation, recovered stolen property, or even valuable items removed for safe keeping such as following a sudden death. The Force must ensure all such property is properly managed and recorded.
A new role has been created – Evidential cash and income generation officer – who will generate income for the Force from the sale of property whose owner can’t be identified.
A recent review and disposal of property and seized cash has netted the Force more than £47,000, which has been banked in the Force’s Police Property Act (PPA) fund. This money helps to make up the Commissioner’s Safer Communities and Safer Roads Funds, which are given away to good causes.
The Force is required to keep some of the money in case an owner comes forward at a later stage.
And now a Force eBay account has been set up to dispose of suitable property. Last December, £190 was made from just a jumper, fragrance, party game and book!
Suitable items are also recycled – including stamps, computer leads, DVD writers and tools to other departments and old clothing that isn’t saleable is sent to charity.
The eBay seller account is NorPol101
Spotting the signs of modern slavery
Over 500 business and safeguarding professionals in Northamptonshire have now been trained in signs of modern slavery.
The Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner chairs the Modern Slavery Partnership, which has held events for managers of county businesses over the last 12 months to raise awareness and equip their staff to become the eyes and ears of Northamptonshire Police in cracking down on this crime.
Northamptonshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am very grateful to all the agencies who took part in this training programme.
“It is shocking that slavery continues to be an issue and it is happening in our county, right now.We need to make sure people are aware of the forms modern slavery can take and what to do about it if they suspect something is not right.”
The signs aren’t always obvious, but can include: looking scruffy, malnourished or injured; acting anxious; afraid or unable to make eye contact; working long hours; wearing unsuitable clothing or have the wrong equipment for the job; overcrowded living; poorly maintained accommodation or closed curtains; behaving like they’re being instructed by someone else; picked up/dropped off at the same time and place every day; don’t have access to money or identification.
Anyone with concerns should call 101 or report activity to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For help and advice, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.
Plan to bring police and fire support together
Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will be working to make sure that their support services are brought more closely together, to improve efficiency, be more affordable and provide more capacity.
To make these important changes and shape the support services of the future, a new role, Director of Transformation, will be recruited to work across both organisations and bring together services such as vehicle fleet, estates and finance.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said:“Combining the services that support police and fire makes good sense, it will give a consistent and high quality service that is efficient and affordable in the future.”
The post, which will report directly to the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer, has been funded from savings made by a restructure in the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, so will have no impact on the budget of either Northamptonshire Police or Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley, said: “For some time now, both police and fire have shared a joined up governance structure, it therefore comes as a natural step to undertake the critical work of bringing together key functions across both public services.”
Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:“After a challenging few years of under-investment, we need more capacity in our enabling services to take those next steps forward.”
Four young drivers latest graduates of safety course
Four young drivers in Northamptonshire have become the latest graduates of a scheme to improve safety of the county’s roads, meaning more than 1,000 drivers have now passed the Northampton Advanced Motorists advanced driving course.
The IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving Course gives drivers of all ages and levels of experience the opportunity to enhance their skills, enjoy their driving more and become a safer driver.
The four young drivers have benefitted from a new scheme that is offering the opportunity for 30 young people – under 26 years old – to take the Advanced Driving Course at a reduced price of £49. This has been made possible thanks to a grant from Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.
Sixteen young drivers are already signed up – including the four who have recently been successful – and 14 places are still available.
The Advanced Driving Course takes drivers through a variety of road types and conditions and coaches them in skills and techniques that will improve their confidence and enhance their safe driving style.
Stephen Mold said:“There is work to do to help young drivers develop good skills and safe driving habits to set them up for a lifetime.This scheme is invaluable and I am delighted to support it.”
John Norrie, Northampton Advanced Motorists Chairman explained “We have always found young drivers a difficult group to reach.This scheme is an exciting opportunity and has significantly increased the number of newly qualified drivers we are working with.”
Young drivers interested in signing up for the course can find out more or book a free taster drive using www.northampton-iam.org.uk, or contacting Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Motorists snapping dangerous driving sees results
Drivers and cyclists are being encouraged to submit dash-cam footage of driving offences to Northamptonshire Police, as part of a recent operation set up to help to keep our county’s roads safe.
Operation Snap allows members of the public with a dash-cam in their vehicle to easily report driving offences in Northamptonshire, by filling out a form and uploading video evidence. The submitted footage is examined by roads policing officers which can then be used to take action against drivers found to be breaking the law.
The Force has received 126 submissions since the scheme was set up in October 2019, of which action could be taken in 60% of cases.
The introduction of Operation Snap has been funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner with the support of the Department for Transport.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “This forms part of our commitment to prevent and reduce serious and fatal collisions, and I’m pleased to be able to increase ways to make our roads safer using digital means”.
PC Dave Lee of the Safer Roads Team said: “Operation Snap enables us to take action on driving offences we otherwise wouldn’t see. It’s important to remember we examine footage for evidence of offences by all parties, so please don’t break the law in order to report someone else to us, or you could be prosecuted too.”