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24 May, 2024

North Yorkshire Community Commission publishes final report with key recommendations for North Yorkshire Police

The community-led project was funded and completed through the former Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund which brought together marginalised groups from across York and North Yorkshire to develop key recommendations for North Yorkshire Police, the Commissioner’s Office, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service and wider partners.

Six representatives from underrepresented groups were recruited and supported to develop and carry out peer-led research and focus groups, with 90 participants from the following organisations:

The organisations that contributed to the report were:

  • York LGBT Forum
    York LGBT Forum is a charity which aims to improve LGBT rights in York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom and across the world.  
  • Up For Yorkshire
    Established in 1977 – our aim is simple – to enable the voluntary and community sector to grow and flourish,
    whilst at the same time supporting an inclusive community for everyone.
     
  • Ark House Rehab
    Ark House is a 12 Step residential rehab. Established in 1993, it has consistently provided effective & successful treatment for people who wish to overcome their addiction problems. 
  • Revival North Yorkshire
    Revival North Yorkshire support older and vulnerable people in Danby, Castleton, Lealholm, Glaisdale, Staithes Sleights and surrounding moor and coastal villages. 
  • Northallerton Mencap
    For over 50 years we have been your local independent charity supporting and campaigning for people of all ages with learning disabilities, their parents and carers. 
  • Disability Support Forum
    North Yorkshire Disability Forum (NYDF) aims to improve the lives of people with physical and/or sensory impairment in North Yorkshire.

The Community Commission looked at five areas of concern:

Police Visibility & Community Relationships
Groups feel that they have lost the community policing relationship that used to exist. Many, especially in more rural areas said they never saw police officers and wanted more visible police presence to create reassurance.

  • Feedback included:
    “I have lived here for 18 years, and you used to be able to see a local policeman on a bike every day – I haven’t seen one for several years.”
    “I wouldn’t bother ringing the police as they would take too long to get here.” 

Hate Crime
Authorities’ responses to hate crimes varies drastically. Some reported receiving positive support on one occasion, and not receiving it in others.

  • Feedback included:
    “People feel safer on the streets than in accommodation provided.”
    “Members of the LGBT community won’t go out alone; it affects people’s lives.” 

Community Safety
Lots of marginalised and underrepresented community groups do not feel safe both out in public and while using public services, including on the streets, on public transport, and in provided accommodation. This was consistent among many different groups, who all felt fearful of victimisation.

  • Feedback included:
    “Who you get on the switchboard can make a real difference.”
    “Death by a thousand cuts – if we reported every time, I’d be doing nothing else.”

Mental Health
Groups interviewed recognised that police have a role to play in mental health but are not adequately trained to offer the level of support or understanding often needed. There was concern that those with mental health issues may be wrongly criminalised and discriminated against.

  • Feedback included:
    “No cohesion between different teams.”
    “Can’t be honest with the police.

Transparency
Openness and transparency amongst authorities were recurring concerns. Lots were unaware of the role of the PFCC, or that they could make complaints through this route.

  • Feedback included:
    “Police are just not well trained enough to deal with mental health issues.”
    “Poor mental health and crime go hand in hand” 

David Skaith, Mayor of York and North Yorkshire, said:

“A key aspect of my responsibilities as Mayor of York and North Yorkshire is the holding to account of the Police and Fire services. The residents of our region, whether in cities or rural areas, all have an equal right to effective and visible policing.

This report makes some positive and achievable recommendations to North Yorkshire Police and further highlights the value in actively reaching out to marginalised communities, reflecting my commitment as Mayor to represent all the people of our region.”

The researchers also provided a range of more than 11 key recommendations for North Yorkshire Police, the Commissioner, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and other partners, which will now be taken forward as part of the Office for Policing, Fire, Crime and Commissioning’s new position within the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Read the report

Community Commission Report - Front cover