Commissioner Zoë’s quarterly engagement blog – September 2022

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first quarterly engagement blog post.

This entry will be updating you all on the engagement work I have participated in as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York from June – September 2022.

Over the last four months there have been a number of key engagement activities which have taken place, so I thought now is a good time to look back and highlight these moments which have been great opportunities for myself to be out meeting the North Yorkshire and City of York communities.

Risk and Resource Model, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service – Public Consultation June- Sept 2022

Members of the Commissioners Office and Fire service in Northallerton on their stand, ready to collect public's feedback on the RRM

There is a statutory requirement for all fire authorities to produce an Integrated Risk Management Plan, known locally as the Risk and Resource Model. This summer North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service developed seven change proposals for its new Risk and Resource Model 2022-25 based on an assessment of their Community Risk Profile, to address and reduce the risks across the service area of North Yorkshire and the City of York. The proposals were recommended to me by the Chief Fire Officer to take forward to public consultation.

Twelve public engagement events were arranged by my office to be held across the Service area on market days or weekends between 9 June – 29 July 2022. These public events were held across the county, one in each district and the City of York along with second events taking place in Huntington, Harrogate and Scarborough.

Map showing location of public events - one in each district and the City of York along with second events taking place in Huntington, Harrogate and Scarborough.

Over these eight weeks myself along with members of my team were on hand to conduct the online questionnaire in person with members of the public. A North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service colleague was also always present to answer any technical/operational questions raised in these communities. We also hired a video pod for each event, providing a space where people could sit and watch an informative video introduction to the proposals, prior to completing the survey with a member of my office.

Over this period we engaged with a total of 1,430 people across North Yorkshire and York at public events and I thank everyone who took part to have their say on the proposed changes to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, along with taking up the opportunity to provide more detailed feedback as well.

https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/rrm-decision/

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy Launch – 30 June

Front cover of strategy - line drawing of woman

In June I published and launched my Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.  In my manifesto I made a clear commitment to make a difference in this area.  The Strategy was informed through a consultation with victims with lived experience earlier in 2022 where a number of victim and survivor focus groups were held where individuals willingly shared their experiences, as well as running a 4-week anonymous open online survey to further ensure the voices of women and girls in North Yorkshire were heard. I would personally like to thank the 332 individuals who completed the survey. That consultation helped in creating the final strategy in which I have identified six priorities which aim to create tangible change and make women and girls feel safe and be safe. I look forward to meeting our partners I carried out a number of press engagements with local media which helped highlight and showcase the launch of the strategy which can be accessed via this weblink: https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/womenandgirls/our-strategy/

The statistics show that although North Yorkshire and York is a safe place to live and work, we should never forget that numbers in a spreadsheet do not tell the full story. There are still too many victims – women and girls who need to have their voices heard, who need to be confident there is a justice system that will believe them, and a network of help that supports them, builds their confidence, and helps them rebuild their lives.

Everyone across North Yorkshire and York should feel they are safe wherever they are, whatever they are doing and whenever that is. But, in too many cases, women and girls do not. We need to continue to help change that. 

Great Yorkshire Show 11-15 July

Police motorbikes in front of the joint services stand at the great yorkshire show

We all had a great time at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show. It was a great opportunity for members of my office, North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service to all come together and showcase all the incredible services we offer to the public on our joint stand which was located near the Gold Gate.

I attended the show on Tuesday 12 July and was flattered to also be invited to attend the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Lunch which was a great networking opportunity.

When I arrived at the stand, I loved seeing so many different activities for members of the public to get involved. Including the driving simulator experience, rope throwing to try and help save ‘Wavey Davey’ and having the opportunity to sit on the police and fire service road bikes.

School children watching the water safety demonstration

My personal favourite was the Water Safety Demonstration which the Public Safety Officers did a stellar job of presenting back-to-back showings educating about the hidden dangers of open water, which seemed to appeal to all generations attending the show – I even learned a few new things too!

The Great Yorkshire Show 2022 was such an informative and fun experience and I look forward to returning next year.

8 September – Community Town Council Meetings

I attended two community council meetings on 8 September covering concerns ranging from anti-social behaviour to concerns on local drug issues.

In the afternoon I attended a Richmond Town Council meeting with stakeholders and neighbourhood policing team to discuss how to tackle anti-social behaviour that occurs in the town predominantly over the summer months at the Richmond Falls. The meeting revealed some real community concerns which have seriously impacted on local residents. Going forward it was agreed that a multi-agency approach is needed, and that prevention work needs to be established and put into place ahead of next summer.

From Richmond I then travelled to Middleham where I had been invited to join a meeting at The Key Centre with local councillors and key partners to discuss their concerns of local drug issues in the area. I am pleased the stakeholders in attendance were really keen to work together and will look in to arranging a public awareness event to take place at the local secondary school for parents, children, and wider local community. I will continue supporting them in my role as Commissioner on this project and look forward to attending their event hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

9 September – Mental Health Suicide Awareness Conference for North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

World Suicide Prevention Day logo

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday 10 September I was honoured to have been asked to open the Mental Health Suicide Awareness Conference for both police and fire services in North Yorkshire and York.

This was an immensely important event because the mental health and wellbeing of our service staff always matters. The passion and advocacy I have for mental health and suicide prevention and awareness, comes from my own life changing experiences.

Having interacted with police, fire, and support services on several occasions where suicide and mental health have had an enormous impact on my family, I have seen the vital role service men and women play in making unbearable situations more bearable. They truly are outstanding people, keeping our communities safe and helping them to feel safe when terrible things happen.

I later reflected how those professional individuals were involved in the trauma of my experience, and how they must navigate their own thoughts and feelings when supporting those going through horrific experiences. They are the people many vulnerable individuals and their families turn to during the traumatic moments of their lives, which can make their job highly emotional and distressing.

I am so thrilled that events, like this, are opening the door and creating safe spaces for people to speak up about prevention and awareness, as well as letting colleagues from both services know there will always be confidential support and advice available from them.

23 September – BBC Radio Tees Make A Difference Awards

Make a Difference Awards logo

I was privileged to have been invited as a guest to attend the Make A Difference Award ceremony on 23 September. I got to sit and mingle with nominees and felt a great sense of community spirit. The person I was sitting next to was nominated for the ‘Best Neighbour Award’ and it was a real pleasure talking to them and finding out just how kind and generous people can be.

I really did enjoy listening to so many inspiring stories and look forward to attending the upcoming BBC Radio York Make A Difference Awards at York Racecourse where I will be presenting the Community Group Award. 

29 September – Yorkshire Post Country Week Conference Board

Yorkshire Post Country Week Conference on 29 September - logo

It was a pleasure to be invited to the Yorkshire Post Country Week Conference on 29 September at the Pavilions of Harrogate. I was asked to deliver a keynote speech on Rural Crime followed by a Q&A panel session, which was a great opportunity to showcase the work that North Yorkshire Police are doing around rural crime and highlight that they care and are passionate about helping rural communities across the county.

I was joined by Harrogate Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant David Lund, who I want to thank for attending this event alongside me and also relaying to attendees his enthusiasm for rural areas which was very well received.

Council Scrutiny Committee Meetings June – September 2022

Finally, over the last four months I have been invited to attend a number of Council Scrutiny Committee Meetings. I have had the pleasure of attending in person both Selby in June, and Harrogate in September meetings and had a member of my team virtually attend on my behalf the Scarborough meeting in July. These are fantastic forums where local stakeholders get together to update and discuss local issues and how is best to address them and work together going forward. I look forward to being invited to future meetings and working together to benefit the people of North Yorkshire and City of York.

Engagement opportunities over the coming months:

  • Diversity/Black History Month – including Hate Crime Awareness Week – October 2022
  • Restorative Justice Week – November 2022
  • VAWG 16 Days of Action – November 2022
  • Precept Consultation 2023/24 – Launching Dec 2022

Very Important Reminders:

  • I will be continuing with my monthly Virtual Advice Surgeries. This is a great opportunity for you to discuss any matters you think should be brought to my attention relating to policing or the fire service in your community. To request an appointment or for any information on advice surgeries this can be found here: northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/advice
  • My Public Accountability Meetings with both Police and Fire services take place every third Thursday of the month. These are where I assign topics to discuss and receive service performance updates, as well as holding the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to account. These are live streamed and recorded on our YouTube Channel for you to watch, and I encourage you to send in any questions you may have which we can address. More information can be found on the PAM webpage. northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/police-oversight/governance/governance-process/corporate-scrutiny-board/

In the new year there will be numerous opportunities for me to be engaging across North Yorkshire and York. I’m really looking forward to ramping up my visibility out of the office speaking to people and connecting with communities. It is still very important to me that you know I am here to listen, and that I will take action on community safety concerns.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to updating you further on my engagement activities in January 2023.

Commissioner Zoë.