These are very strange times we are living in. I write this in the first few days of May, when we are still in lockdown but waiting to see what the Government will tell us are the next steps we need to take to keep Covid 19 in check writes Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.
For the last few weeks, everyone has been rightly preoccupied with staying home, keeping safe and preventing the spread of this virus.
I have been out on patrol with Northamptonshire Police officers several times, to get a feel for how they are engaging with people and I hope that if you have comments to make you will email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Both Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue are working hard and in new ways and I felt the time was right to update you on some of the activities underway as both organisations continue to strive to keep you safe.
Inspectors give Fire Service a clean bill of health
The firefighters and staff of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) have been congratulated on their “commitment and determination to drive improvement for their community” by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), who visited the service to check on progress following an earlier inspection.
HMICFRS carried out their first inspection of NFRS in November 2018 and their subsequent report raised concerns about fire engine availability and the way training in critical safety skills was managed.
An improvement plan was put in place and in March, Inspectors visited again to check progress.
This time, the Inspectors found that NFRS had prioritised improvement and that there was no longer any cause for concern about their performance.
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said he is delighted that the focus of firefighters and staff on these priority areas has been so effective and that this is particularly welcome news at a time when the covid 19 emergency is a cause of such concern.
The Inspectors said that:
Measures introduced to improve fire engine availability are proving effective, with a minimum number achieved on 95%-99% of occasions – “a vast improvement” confirmed by the report
Staff are now all up to date with their safety-critical training
The Inspectors now said they do not need to revisit the Service to monitor these areas of performance.
Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “At such an uncertain time for the country, this is welcome and reassuring news that I am proud to be able to share with the public of Northamptonshire.”
Youth Team outreach to vulnerable in hotspot areas
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold set up a Youth Team earlier this year to work in neighbourhoods with young people,intervening early to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and stop them becoming involved in, or victims of, crime.
During the Covid 19 outbreak, the Youth Team has been working in areas that have been identified as hotspots where young people gather.The Team have been building relationships and giving advice and guidance to the young people about social distancing and staying at home.
They have also been finding out what the young people think about how police deal with them, and then feeding that back to the Force to help inform their response.
The Youth Team has also been supporting a number of young people identified as vulnerable or with additional needs who are not receiving social care or other
services and providing 1-1 support over the phone or in person, observing social distancing, to
the young people and their families.
Support for victims goes online
Voice for Victims, Northamptonshire PFCC Stephen Mold’s victim support service, has launched the Voice Home Support Hub app to help people cope and recover from the effects of crime during social distancing.
The app is available to download, free of charge, at www.voicehomesupporthub.co.uk
The lockdown measures imposed to help stop the spread of Covid 19 have resulted in the loss of routine and the networks that people rely on for support.This can have a profound effect on someone’s ability to recover from crime. Voice – which is supporting people by phone and online during social distancing – has created the Home Support Hub to help breakdown these barriers to recovery.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, whose office funds Voice, added: “This is a fantastic example of how we can use technology to enhance our services to victims of crime, whose needs are at the heart of my police and crime plan.
“I have always said that I’d like to harness the power of technology to improve the way we deliver services to people and I’m delighted to see Voice pro-actively thinking about how they need to adapt given these challenging times.”
Anyone who has been a victim or witness of crime in Northamptonshire can access Voice, regardless of when the crime took place, and regardless of whether they have reported anything to the police or not. Support is free and confidential. Call 0300 303 1965 or visit voicenorthants.org
Burglaries down by a third in Northants
The number of home invasions across Northamptonshire has reduced by over 34% in the first year Northamptonshire Police’s dedicated burglary team has been operating, meaning that there have been 1,000 fewer victims of crime.
Operation Crooked is the Force’s campaign to reduce home invasions – a crime Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold asked the Chief Constable to make a priority.
As part of the operation, the Burglary Team, which sits within CID, ensures that every burglary victim in Northamptonshire is guaranteed a visit from the police.
The team also work to review and drive up the quality of investigations, manage and progress forensic hits, hunt down wanted people, organise police patrols in areas of concern and gather intelligence to prevent burglaries before they happen.
Since April 1, 2019:
Home invasions have reduced by 34%
Burglary overall is at its lowest level since June 2008
This equates to 1000 fewer victims per year
In one area of Northampton, burglaries have fallen by over 50%.
Also, since the operation began, over 250 people have been arrested for burglary offences.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said:“This is fantastic news.People told me that they wanted to see a focus on crimes that really affect their community like burglary and Northamptonshire Police have truly delivered.
Not only has the Force cracked down hard on burglary, but they have also worked hard to explain to people how they can help to prevent crime and I am sure that all of these actions will have had a very positive effect on the confidence and safety of communities across Northamptonshire.”
Call-taking on track during crisis
Northamptonshire’s PFCC Stephen Mold has funded the purchase of 500 extra laptops to ensure that the Force retains capacity and is resilient and can allow staff to work from home.
These laptops have allowed members of the Force Control Room with health conditions that put them in the ‘at risk’ category to work from home and for the first time, to receive calls from the public as they would in the control room.
No 999 or first contact 101 calls are managed by staff working from home in case the remote connection fails during a call: only those calls that have been triaged and risk assessed by someone in the FCR are routed to those working at home.
Staff working from home are currently able to receive and deal with inbound non-emergency calls, administrative functions, crime recording and processing of single online home reports received adding a valuable contribution to FCR daily business.
This initiative has ensured that there is no disruption to the service that the public receive, and capacity has been maintained during the outbreak so far.
Fire service going the extra mile
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have taken on a variety of different roles to support the community and the response to the Covid 19 outbreak.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will be among the six Fire and Rescue services across the East Midlands joining East Midlands Ambulance Service to commence training to support the response to COVID-19.
If the need arises in the coming weeks, fire service personnel will work alongside EMAS Urgent Care colleagues and will carry out support tasks such as driving Urgent Care vehicles and the safe moving and handling of patients.
Twelve firefighters from Northamptonshire have undergone training.
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our firefighters are committed to supporting their community in every way that they can and are proud to be playing their part to support our colleagues in the ambulance service as we deal with this national emergency.
“We will continue to respond to fire and rescue emergencies whenever we are needed, while we adapt the way we work to meet these new challenges with pride.”
Pharmacy deliveries protect the vulnerable
Firefighters and staff from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service are working with pharmacies to deliver essential medication to vulnerable people across the county.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will be delivering for community pharmacies and dispensing GP practices, which will free up pharmacy staff to cope with increased demand for support and advice, while also ensuring that vulnerable people are able to stay at home instead of coming out to collect medication.
Anne-Marie King, Chief Officer, Pharmacy Northamptonshire, said: “Pharmacies are meeting unprecedented demand on their services as the impact of the pandemic is felt. Delivering prescriptions was becoming challenging and so I was delighted when Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service agreed to help relieve the mounting pressure. Having their support means that many more patients can have their medicines delivered thus enabling them to stay safe at home.”
Supporting at temporary mortuaries
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have been supporting the Local Resilience Forum, which co-ordinates the county’s response to the Covid 19 emergency, with the movement of the deceased from hospitals to the county’s temporary mortuaries.
The Government asked the fire service nationally to support this difficult and sensitive work and Northamptonshire firefighters have risen to the challenge, supporting the LRF as part of the death management process for Covid 19.
Firefighters from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service have ensured the work is undertaken with respect for the families and for the dignity of the person who has died.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am incredibly proud of the sensitive way in which firefighters have taken on the most challenging of additional roles. Northamptonshire firefighters and staff have been asked by the Government to do more and they have stepped up, while continuing to respond to emergencies and carry out vital fire prevention work.”