Ground-breaking regional emergency and health service collaboration set to increase quality of life in communities
Launched today (Tuesday 21 November 2017), the Yorkshire and Humber Emergency Services Prevention and Early Intervention Consensus Statement has been co-ordinated by Public Health England (Yorkshire and the Humber).
Among the signatories are Chief Constable Dave Jones from North Yorkshire Police, Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Chief Fire Officer Nigel Hutchinson from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Rod Barnes, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Police, ambulance and fire and rescue services share a long history of effective collaborative working, and the signing of the new consensus statement to extend this partnership approach is the first such regional agreement in the country.
With demand for health and social care rising, the main focus of the emergency services is to use their joint intelligence and skills to support communities with ill-health prevention and early intervention where problems are identified.
This includes greater sharing and development of referral pathways into key services such as falls prevention and support for mental health, alcohol and drug problems, advice to keep homes warm and social support to combat loneliness and isolation.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This consensus is welcome news and something that I’m really proud to be a part of. I truly believe that through collaborative working we can gain a better understanding of how to best protect the most vulnerable in society.
“PCCs have a specific role to play given our oversight of policing services, and possibly fire services in future, but I am always looking to collaborate with health partners in particular. The NHS and ambulance service are especially important given the collective focus on mental health, and we have made great strides between policing and health in North Yorkshire already.
“The more we build on this collaborative culture the better services will be for the public, especially the most vulnerable who tend to need a range of support services.”
Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “Emergency service teams come into contact with vulnerable people every day and see health inequalities and social challenges first-hand. By tackling these issues jointly and more effectively, the main aim is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families. This new active prevention and early intervention approach in our region will also reduce demand on the already busy emergency and health services.”
Chief Fire Officer Nigel Hutchinson said: “This consensus statement builds upon existing strong partnerships that improve the safety of people across the region. It will provide a useful focus as the emergency services start to work closer together to improve health and well-being in our communities.”
Rod Barnes, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “This is a great opportunity to work together even more closely and deliver greater support to the most vulnerable members of our communities. By coordinating our efforts we stand a better chance of addressing widespread health and wellbeing problems and improving the quality of people’s lives.”
Frances Cunning, from PHE in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Saving peoples’ lives is what our emergency services do, day-in, day-out. They come into contact with many of the most vulnerable people in our communities and are perfectly placed to spot the dangers facing them.
“They are now bringing this experience to bear more widely, to support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people across Yorkshire and the Humber and this formal agreement will help us to strengthen and develop this work, learning from each other.”
Facilitated by Public Health England (Yorkshire and the Humber), the emergency services signed up to the consensus statement include:
- North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
- North Yorkshire Police
- Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Humberside Fire & Rescue Service
- Humberside Police
- Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner
- South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- South Yorkshire Police
- South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
- West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- West Yorkshire Police
- West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
- British Transport Police
- NHS England
- Public Health England Yorkshire & Humber
Examples of emergency service prevention and early intervention collaboration in North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are already making significant progress in their collaborative work to increase the quality of life in communities.
One specific area is the joint effort to deal with fire safety issues, vulnerability and proceeds of crime linked to modern slavery and immigration.
Under the Regulatory Reform Act 2005, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service conduct regular fire compliance checks on “pop-up” nail bars, take-away restaurants, B&Bs, guest houses and other properties.
If there are issues and enforcement visits occur, there is an opportunity for prosecution.
The level of fines and sentencing matrix has been amended since 2016 and there are now greater powers to tackle breaches of fire safety and harsher punishment including prison.
If tried at Crown Court and the defendant is convicted of two or more offences, it then opens up Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation. The convictions become a qualifying offence for the police to apply for “extended benefit” confiscation orders. Under the POCA, police can apply to the court to confiscate any assets that have passed through the workers, the business or the property within the last six years.
Jon Foster, Head of Risk Management at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “There are a huge number of criminals that purport to be business operators. They set up rogue companies and businesses and operate outside of the law. Utilising fire legislation is another tool to be able to tackle these individuals and not only protect those that are the most vulnerable, but also deprive those in positions of power of valuable assets.”
Instead of closing down a pop-up nail bar and the owner simply moving premises and registering under another name, the police now have the option to consider a POCA confiscation order that is back-dated six years. Any earnings from that nail bar during this period could then become a confiscated asset.
This legislation also covers rogue landlords that sub-let properties, brothels, shops and other businesses.
Inspector Jo Brooksbank, of North Yorkshire Police’s Partnership Hub, said: “Our Economic Crime Unit is in the early stages of communication with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Safety compliance department and they are actively looking for opportunities to utilise this legislation.
“With a closer working relationship we will be able to actively target properties, businesses and individuals from not only a criminal angle, but also a fire safety angle. Often criminals avoid detection by legitimising aspects of their activities. Utilising the legislation and taking a collaborative approach, we aim to tackle those offenders by any means possible.
“By working together using our collective resources, knowledge and skills, we will support the communities that we serve with early intervention through fire safety compliance checks and prevention of future activity through police prosecutions.”
Community Safety Hubs and Life Courses
Another example of police and fire service collaboration in North Yorkshire relates to the work of Community Safety Hubs and a local intervention fire education scheme called “Life Course”.
Supported and shaped by local authorities in conjunction with key partners, Community Safety Hubs have been developed across North Yorkshire and the City of York. They are designed to support collaborative working on a daily basis.
Along with a whole range of referral pathways, the Hubs facilitate a joint approach to tackling anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.
Inspector Jo Brooksbank said: “A good example of the referral work is where services identify young people who are becoming disengaged or identified as being involved in anti-social behaviour. Referrals are then made to the fire service for a place on the LIFE course.
“LIFE is an intensive week-long course which aims to change attitudes of young people and show them the dangers and consequences of anti-social behaviour. The course follows a physical and fast-moving timetable which challenges and stretches the students.
“The funding for the courses is provided by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Fund which allows six courses to be run each year across North Yorkshire in areas of most need. This will allow interventions with up to 60 young people.”
LIFE case study
Zobair Hussain, from Skipton, is living proof that the LIFE course makes a positive difference to the lives of young people.
He was previously identified as a “disengaged young person” who needed some direction.
This is where the LIFE course came into play.
Not only did he complete the course, Zobair went on to study for a BTEC at Skipton Fire Station.
He then joined North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as a Retained Firefighter and he now instructs the LIFE course to help change the lives of other young people.