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Engagement Quarterly Blog – April 2023

Hello everyone, Welcome back to my quarterly engagement blog update and what a busy start to 2023 it has been so far.

This entry will update you on the community engagement work I have participated in as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York over January to March 2023.

Over the last three months there have been many engagement activities which have taken place, so I wanted to highlight these moments which continue to be fantastic opportunities for me to be out and about meeting North Yorkshire and City of York communities.

January 2023

30 January – High Bentham Youth Group, Good Citizen Award Presentation

I travelled to High Bentham, which is located right on the North Yorkshire/Lancashire border to meet and award Bentham Youth Group with their Good Citizen Award Certificates.

The Youth Group is made up of 18 young people who over their October Half Term last year spent an afternoon litter picking in their local area.

On their aptly named Litter- ‘Picnic’ project afternoon, the group were split into two teams with the goal set for the team who could collect the most amount of litter would win a cake reward to eat at their afternoon picnic!

It was interesting to hear all about the project from some of the individuals directly and how pleased they were with the amount of litter they cleaned up to help their local community.

A massive well done and congratulations to the whole group and thank you to SELFA Children’s Charity youth group leader Natasha for inviting me along to help to hand out the certificates.

February 2023

1 February – Cononley Farm Visit – Safer Streets Protect Your Home Scheme

I spent the morning at a family run farm in Cononley with local Neighbourhood Police Team Inspector Julie Earnshaw, Rural Task Force Officer Mark Earnshaw, and contractors J Tomlinson’s to see the work carried out as part of our #ProtectYourHome scheme which is to help make property and land more secure.

I heard all about the process of the police initial property surveys which they then send over to the contractors, so they know where and what work needs to be carried out for each homeowner. I witnessed firsthand the new locks being installed on doors, windows and new alarm systems which are ideal for residential homes, farms, and small holdings.

I am so proud of the work my office has done to secure this funding from the Home Office on behalf of these communities, and it’s important that the money is used to improve the security of as many homes and rural businesses as possible.

The more people who sign up in a community the more resilient to burglary that area becomes, and we’ve seen this demonstrated in Cononley when a burglar was captured on seven video doorbells, and later arrested. Many of the video doorbells had been funded through this scheme.

The scheme is currently running in areas of Harrogate and Craven and I really do recommend residents living in one of the parishes covered by this scheme to sign up and take advantage of the free security upgrades available to you.

Full details and how to sign up: www.ProtectYourHome.org.uk

1 February – North Yorkshire Youth Commission – Big Conversation Conference, Harrogate

I would like to say a massive thank you to the Youth Commission Team for bringing so many partners and stakeholders all together under one roof for this event.

It was great to hear of all their achievements over this last year and for them to be celebrated.

The amazing accomplishment of gathering the views of over 1,400 young people aged between 10-25 years from across North Yorkshire and York on six key crime and policing priorities which is outstanding work, and will be taking on board all the recommendations that young people across our wonderful county have brought to the table.

It really did remind me how important the work and voices of young people are and how they are incredibly valuable when they contribute to community issues and suggest ways to resolve them.

22 February – National Police Air Service Visit

I spent a morning with the National Police Air Service where I heard about their great work in helping keep the people in North Yorkshire and York safe, as well as assisting North Yorkshire Police on operations.

I enjoyed being invited to sit in their helicopter and shown all the different equipment they use and even watched videos of past operations where they showcased how they assist other emergency services in helping to find missing people. It was a very insightful and educational visit, and I look forward to continuing a good working relationship going forward.

24 February – Student ASB Working Group, Skipton Academy, Skipton

I was delighted to attend along with my Community Engagement Officer to attend a multi-agency working group where students from Skipton Academy shared their views on what they would like to see in Skipton for their age group.

It was really interesting to hear first-hand their perspective on issues which concern them, and discussing what they feel would help resolve these problems.

Their feedback is being taken away to be discussed with wider local stakeholders and working groups for further conversations and I would like to thank the students for being so open and honest with myself and everyone else who attended.

March 2023

1 March – York Women’s Counselling Service, Community Fund Project Visit, York

I had the pleasure of meeting Staff and Trustees at York Women’s Counselling Service, which is one of the services that has benefited recently from applying to my Community Fund.

I visited the team along with one of my Commissioning and Partnership Managers for a few hours to learn more about what they do, and their work supporting women affected by domestic and sexual violence.

It is great to know how the funding we awarded this service is being put to extremely good use and especially seeing a service for women, run by women.

Thank you very much to Charlotte and Emma for having us.

 8 March – International Women’s Day, Harrogate

We had a great team morning in our Harrogate Office to mark this year’s International Women’s Day with staff meeting in-person to discuss this year’s theme ‘embrace equity’, show their support for each other, and to raise awareness of everything International Women’s Day stands for. I discussed with the team how I was delighted to have been invited by the Prime Minister along with other Commissioners from across the UK to an evening reception at No.10 Downing Street to celebrate International Women’s Day earlier in the week.

International Women’s Day to me is a celebration of all women’s achievements and the opportunity to raise the profile globally. I’m incredibly proud to be a female Commissioner here in North Yorkshire and York, with a fantastic team of people supporting me who are predominantly women.

I personally didn’t set out to be a leader, but I knew I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives and that a move into politics would give me the opportunities I needed to help those in similar situations to me. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

15 March – Live Major Incident Scenario, York Racecourse

I spent the afternoon at York Racecourse alongside, Police, Fire & Rescue and other key partners who took part in a pre-planned exercise which was arranged to test and strengthen the response of the local emergency services in a live major incident scenario led by the Home Office.

The exercise involved staged explosions and simulated gun fire (no live ammunition was used,) and it was great to be there in person to see how well our emergency services would respond to no-notice violent attacks and see any areas which needed improvement.

22 March – Safer Streets Visit & Walkabout with Neighbourhood Policing Team, Sicklinghall

I spent the morning in the village of Sicklinghall along with local Inspector Rogerson, PCSO Nikki and contractors J Tomlinson’s to inform residents on the morning school run about this scheme and then walked around village posting leaflets through letterboxes encouraging homeowners to sign up for their free security surveys and upgrades.

The £719,000 scheme is being provided by the Home Office and aims to prevent burglary and protect individuals, families and businesses in over 1,000 homes and 90 farms in the parishes of Clapham cum Newby; Cononley; Lawkland; Lothersdale; Allerton Mauleverer with Hopperton; Kirk Deighton; Kirk Hammerton; Leathley; Long Marston; North Deighton; Sicklinghall and Spofforth with Stockeld which are all situated along the borders of Craven District and Harrogate Borough.

My team and myself will continue to promote and advocate this scheme for the eligible parishes of the county along with local councillors to help the people of North Yorkshire continue to feel safe and be safe.

 29 March – Supermarket Drop in Morning, Scarborough Town Centre

In March I had my first Supermarket Drop-In Morning at the Scarborough Tesco Superstore to meet residents and business owners to hear about any community issues they may have along with members of my team.

It was a great opportunity for residents and members of the public to come meet me in person and find out more about my work, or to discuss a community, policing or fire service concern. I really enjoyed meeting every single individual who came and spoke to me about what is going well and what needs improving. The overall main concern I was repeatedly informed about was around the level of anti-social behaviour occurring in the town centre, which I know the local neighbourhood team and their partners are working hard to tackle.

I am the link between the public and the police and fire and rescue service – to make sure they do a good job on the public’s behalf. It is my job to ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, by setting objectives through her Police and Crime Plan and Fire and Rescue Plan.

I wanted to thank the support from Scarborough Neighbourhood Policing Team, Scarborough Fire Station Manger as well as Scarborough’s Community Impact Team who came down and were on hand to discuss any public concerns raised at the event.

I am really looking forward to doing more drop in mornings more regularly across the county and you can find more information on these events on my website: https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/how-can-we-help/commissioner

 30 March – Acomb Fire Station Visit with Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire, York

I was joined by Rt Hon Chris Philp MP, Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire for a visit to Acomb Fire Station where we met with both the North Yorkshire Chief and Deputy Fire Officer and the local station firefighters to find out more about what the service does.

The Minister had a tour of one of our fire engines and the opportunity to put on the uniform, try out the service’s breathing apparatus and experience trying to search for people in the dark.

It was great to visit Acomb station again and I have planned to start visiting all our on-call fire stations across the county over the rest of 2023, which I am really looking forward to.

Engagement opportunities over the coming months: April – June

  • Supermarket Drop In Mornings:
    • April – Thirsk Tesco Superstore
    • May – Filey Tesco Superstore
    • June – Catterick Garrison Tesco Superstore & York Askham Bar Tesco Extra
  • Stalking Awareness Week
  • Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Launch of the new Public Accountability Meetings
  • Response Policing Week
  • Safeguarding Awareness Week
  • On Call Fire Station Visits

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 Meetings have recently been reviewed and will going forward still take place every third Thursday of the month, but each month from May 2023 will focus on either North Yorkshire Police or North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service individually. The meetings will be even more informative for the public, providing value and insight into how North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are performing against the objectives set in my police and crime, and fire and rescue plan, with discussions on specific topics, updates on statutory inspections and dedicated Q&A time. As your commissioner it’s my responsibility to amplify your questions and concerns to police and fire Chiefs and to seek the answers you need to be safe and feel safe at home, in your community, and across York and North Yorkshire. More information can be found on my website: northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/police-oversight/governance/governance-process/corporate-scrutiny-board/

It has been fantastic to engage with such a wide variety of individuals in the first quarter of 2023. I am excited for all the upcoming community engagement opportunities taking place over spring and summer where I will be able to continue listening and connecting with the residents across North Yorkshire and York and being there to hear and take on board any concerns raised about our police or fire services.

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

Commissioner Zoë.