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Engagement Quarterly Blog – January 2023

Hello everyone, I wanted to first wish you a very Happy New Year and welcome you back to my quarterly engagement blog update.

This entry will update you on the engagement work I have participated in as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York from October to December 2022.  

Over the last three months there have been several key engagement activities which have taken place, so I wanted to highlight these moments which have been great opportunities for me to be out meeting our communities in North Yorkshire and City of York. 

October 2022

3 October – Firearms Licensing Unit Visit at Northallerton

I visited the Firearms Licensing Team in Northallerton who provided me with a presentation giving an overview of the department. I am extremely keen to engage and get to know more personally all the divisions which make up both police and fire services going forward.  

7 October – Purple Flag event York

It was great to come together with City of York partners to agree a series of actions to support York and its night-time economy as part of its Purple Flag accreditation. 

Earlier in 2022 York was awarded ‘purple flag’ status after being recognised as a safe, entertaining, and thriving destination after dark, which is a wonderful achievement.  

This partnership work is important in supporting York city centre’s night-time economy continue being accessible and safe, and I am looking forward to seeing how these actions will ensure the city remains to be an enjoyable and welcoming place.  

7 October – Passing Out Parade Colburn Fire Station

It was lovely to have been invited to Colburn Fire Station for their LIFE Passing Out Parade. This is a great opportunity for the students to receive positive feedback on their achievements and to demonstrate some of their newfound skills. A massive congratulations to all that were involved.  

10 October – Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce Meeting

I was delighted to attend the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce Meeting to talk in more depth about my role as Commissioner, and the synergy between keeping our town centres safe and encouraging economic growth. It was also great to have North Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector Alex Langley and Superintendent Teresa Lam attend and introduce themselves at the meeting.   

12 October – Public Champion Awards Shortlisting Panel   

This was a great opportunity for myself and my office to collectively invite a selection of dedicated volunteers who take part in our scrutiny panels, as well as members of our Youth Commission to come together and select candidates for the upcoming Public Choice Awards. This group of individuals helped narrow down the nominees who were to be considered for the Public Champions Awards. The panel decisions were released for all residents of North Yorkshire and York to vote for the winners ahead of the ceremony in November.  

8-16 October – National Hate Crime Awareness Week – York Mosque Visit & Richmond Flashmob Event

I joined with many key agencies from across York and North Yorkshire to stand together with local communities during National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The key focus of the week was around the topic of misogyny, a type of hate crime where someone is targeted because they are female. 

Over the week myself and members of my office took part in events with our partners across the county to help our communities recognise hate crime and to have the confidence to report it. 

Members of my office along with York Neighbourhood Policing Team, and North Yorkshire Police Positive Action Team were delighted to attend York Mosque on the Friday afternoon after Jummah Prayer to chat with individuals in the York Muslim Community, around hate crime. They provided a wide variety of printed materials in different languages (Arabic, Kurdish, Fari and English) for individuals to take away and read more on reporting hate crime to the police.  

It was great to witness in person the Flashmob event that took place on Saturday 15th October in Richmond Market Place. Young people from North Yorkshire Police Cadets and other local youth groups worked alongside Edwina Anderson from North Yorkshire Youth and local PCSO Helenor Gwatkin to help raise awareness about violence against women and girls. It definitely made an impact having everyone emerging from side streets singing and dancing to perform a Flashmob altogether in the centre. It was great to see the reactions from all the local shoppers.  

11 October – Skelton Layby Community Fund Visit

I visited Skelton Layby and held an engagement event with local media to highlight the work of the local community who applied for £13,271.23 through my Community Fund. This money helped finance the construction of a new fence alongside the layby which has helped to reduce anti-social behaviour occurring in the nearby woodland.  

This project is exactly what my Community Fund is for – supporting projects which will make a real difference to where people live, reduce illegal activity, and protect individuals and families.  

The Skelton Layby Citizens Involved Problem Solving Project Working Group have committed a huge amount of their own time and energy to highlighting the problems they have been facing, but also suggesting solutions, and this partnership working across organisations, groups and partners is one I hope we see more of across North Yorkshire and York.  

19 October – Not my child campaign, Northallerton

I joined Kerry Roberts in the “NotMyChild” campaign which is aimed to encourage parents, guardians, schools, and care givers to have positive conversations with teenage children about drugs, alcohol, and other substances, before any harm has happened.  

The campaign was inspired by Kerry and the tragic story of her daughter Leah who died after taking drugs in 2019. As a parent myself, I continue to be inspired by Kerry’s determination to bring something so positive out of something so tragic.  

Here is a link to the campaign page where you can find out more on Kerry’s Story; What to talk about with young people; and information on the help and support available in North Yorkshire: www.notmychild.info   

21 October – BBC Radio York Make A Difference Awards

I was privileged to have been invited to attend the first ever BBC Radio York Make A Difference Award ceremony at York Racecourse. I presented the Community Group Award which was won by York Menfulness which is a men’s social wellbeing group support and promote improvement in men’s lives. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to so many inspiring stories and celebrating the people making a real difference in York and North Yorkshire. 

24 October – Haxby ASB Concerns Meeting – Athena House

I attended a meeting held between York Neighbourhood Policing Team and Haxby Councillors at Athena House in York where they discussed potential new multi-agency approaches to help tackle Anti-Social Behaviour. ASB had become a real concern to many residents in the village over the last few months, and I am looking forward to seeing all partners coming together to help restore public trust and confidence of our services going forward.  

25 October – Norton Multi Agency Meeting – Ryedale House

I joined a very productive multi agency meeting at Ryedale District Council Offices where Councillors, members of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and Ryedale Community Safety Hub discussed ongoing Anti-Social Behaviour in Norton. It was great to hear how they plan to work together going forward, and how the will continue to encourage residents to report crimes to North Yorkshire Police so they are recorded and can be actioned.   

November 2022

7 November – Police Trust & Confidence and Perception Surveys Launched

I began launching public surveys this month which will help measure the level of public trust and confidence in policing across North Yorkshire and York. The survey takes under five minutes to complete, and I really encourage everyone across all our communities to please share your views on your local services.  

These responses will influence the work I do to promote change, hold the Chief Constable to account and spread best practice and high standards. In early 2023 I will also be launching a public trust and confidence survey for the fire service to help me also hold the Chief Fire Officer to account.  

Police Trust & Confidence Survey Link: https://bit.ly/TrustConfidence 

A more comprehensive perception survey is also available for those who wish to go into more detail about their experiences with our services.  

Perception survey: https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/how-can-we-help/your-say/consultations/ 

8 November – Mashamshire Community Meeting

I was very pleased to be invited as guest speaker at Mashamshire Community Office’s AGM where I delivered a speech on my role as Commissioner and what the job entails.  

After the meeting I really enjoyed networking with local residents alongside Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Ed Rogerson and hearing more about what the services could do for this community.   

16 November – Spirit of Christmas, Selby, Community Fund Project Event

My Community Engagement Officer attended an open day by the Spirit of Christmas Charity who specialise in providing for children at Christmas. The charity is a recent recipient of my Community Fund and was awarded £1,000.00 which will go towards helping them achieve the following:  

  1. Run Christmas parties in December 2022 (in the Selby and York regions) for low-income families
  2. Help run their Christmas Toy Bank in Selby where families are invited to come and select presents from their “shop” for their children.
  3. Help provide pupils from local primary schools with a Christmas present. 
  4. Funds will also go toward their all-year run project ‘Banana Box Toy Project’ that gives away boxes of educational and special education needs toys to families who are struggling covering a 30-mile radius from Selby.

A big thank you to Ronnie; Dianne; Wendy; and all the lovely enthusiastic volunteers involved with this project.  

21 November – Community Remedy Survey Launched

As part of Restorative Justice Awareness Week my office launched in partnership with North Yorkshire Police our Community Remedy Consultation Survey to gather opinions on how offenders should be held to account. 

From this survey we hoping to create a new list of community remedy options that will provide victims of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour with a say in how offenders should be held to account. 

I want members of the public to feel empowered by the Community Remedy, in that they have a say in the best way to prevent re-offending and feel reassured by the actions taken by the police.    

The consultation will run until 10th January and the results will be collated and help with creating a new Community Remedy Options Leaflet which will be published in March 2023. 

24 November – Camblesforth Community Meeting

I attended the Thursday evening Camblesforth Parish Council Community Meeting to discuss their local policing concerns and ongoing rural crime issues. Members of the local community attended and raised questions directed to me, Selby Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Martin Wedgwood, Rural Policing Task Force PC Simon Barker and PCSO Sarah Harrod.  

Meetings like these are great forums where I can hear what is important to individual communities which in turn helps me continue to hold the police to account and informs me of any particular areas I need to take away and raise directly with the Chief Constable.  

Thank you to Camblesforth Parish Council for the invite.  

25 November – Annual Awards Ceremony

The Public Choice awards remind us to recognise and highlight the extraordinary work that our brave Officers, Firefighters, volunteers and other Police and Fire staff provide to go above and beyond for our communities, helping people to be safe and feel safe wherever they are and whatever they are doing.  

One of the priorities within both my Police & Crime and Fire & Rescue plans is to enhance positive culture, openness, integrity and public trust in Police and Fire services, with a personal pledge to work tirelessly to restore and renew that trust if confidence has been shaken.   

A huge congratulations to both Simon and Luke who were the chosen public winners on the night.  

25 November – 10 December VAWG 16 Days of Action

To mark the Violence Against Women and Girls 16 Days of Action, I released a series of six short videos to highlight the wide range of services available in North Yorkshire and York to support women and girls:  

  • Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centre
  • Survive
  • Independent Domestic Violence Advisor Service
  • Women’s Centre
  • Crossroads Diversion Scheme

Each video was shared and highlighted across my team’s multiple online channels over this period, and I hope they continue to reach and encourage more women to access services and seek support. 

You can watch any of these videos via the line below:  

https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/16days-videos/  

Also, in December our VAWG delivery plan was launched and showcased what is currently being done to tackle VAWG across the county. Within six months we have already improved outcomes for an increased number of victims accessing VAWG specialist support services which demonstrates how putting a spotlight on VAWG is making a difference across our North Yorkshire and York communities.  

25 November – White Ribbon Day

I am very proud that my office has become a White Ribbon Supporter Organisation, making a promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against Women and Girls. It was a great way to kick off our 16 Days of Action work. Becoming a White Ribbon Supporter naturally aligns with the work we are already doing locally, which focuses on listening and engaging with women and strengthening our multi-agency approach to address VAWG, enhancing support services for victims, and facilitating behaviour change for perpetrators.   

29 November – KYRA – York, Community Fund Project Visit

I had the pleasure of visiting the KYRA Women’s Project in York for the afternoon. The project is a support centre run by women for women, that provides encouragement; companionship; information; training; and most importantly a sense of belonging.

KYRA was one of the recipients of my Community Fund and was awarded £6,410.00 to go towards their Safe and Strong Project which ran from 1st July 2021 to March 2022. The funding went towards a combination of self-defence classes and assertiveness classes delivered for women in the hope these would help women feel more protected and able to look after themselves.

I enjoyed finding out about the project, and humbled to talk with members and volunteers at their Tuesday drop-in session; as well as hearing more about what KYRA are looking to do in the future.  

29 November – Harrogate Fire Station Visit with High Sherriff

I took the North Yorkshire High Sheriff, James Lambert OBE along to visit Harrogate Fire Station today where York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership were filming there upcoming December 2023 Christmas Drink and Drug Drive Campaign Video. 

The partnerships campaign was endorsed by actor Mark Charnock, who plays Marlon Dingle in ITV’s Yorkshire soap Emmerdale. He volunteered to take part in a mock Road Traffic Collision where he was filmed being cut out of crashed motor vehicle.  

It was great to have him be a part of this campaign and help reiterate to members of the public the harsh realities of what drink and drug driving can entail over the Christmas period and beyond.  

30 November -Women’s Wellness Centre Visit York

I attended the Women’s Wellness Centre as part of our VAWG 16 Days of Action to speak with individuals who come along to their morning drop-in clinic. One of our key objectives in our VAWG Strategy is to engage and listen to all women and girls and proactively seeking feedback to inform continuous service improvements and hope to come and visit again at another morning clinic.

December 2022

1 December – VAWG Professionals Working Group

It was great to virtually join the VAWG Professionals sub-group who are all working to achieve the strategic objectives of the joint Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy will be delivered. A really great engagement event to be apart of over the 16 Days of Action.  

5 December – Precept Consultation 2023/24 Survey Launched

At the beginning of December, I launched my 2023/24 Precept Consultation, which is for residents of North Yorkshire and City of York to have their say on what they want to contribute to the police and fire service for the upcoming council tax year. 

This is something every Commissioner is required to do every year. It is never easy asking taxpayers for more money, and I know that many individuals and families have been and will continue to face financial pressures, but our emergency services are also dealing with rising costs as they continue their vital work to keep us all safe. The survey was open until 16th January 2023 and the findings of the consultation will be collated and ready to be discussed and approved at an upcoming Police, Fire and Crime Panel in February 2023. 

15 December – Skipton Town Council Working Group Meeting

I was invited to attend the first Community Working Group Meeting by Skipton Town Council to discuss the towns recent concerns on Anti-Social Behaviour and how a multi-agency approach can be proactive in making positive steps going forward for the town.
It was great to get a wide variety of local partners together from Town Councillors, Skipton Youth Council, Skipton BID, Craven College, Community Safety Hub, SELFA and the local North Yorkshire Police Neighbourhood Policing Team and I am pleased they are going to continue working all together to tackle this issue.   

22 December – Be Safe Feel Safe Booklet Launched  

My final piece of engagement for 2022 was launching together with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service an online resource providing guidance to prevent fire related incidents in winter across the county, most specifically regarding heating our homes.  

You can access this information on my website via the link below and can also download a PDF version of the booklet too: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/besafefeelsafe  

Engagement opportunities over the coming months:

  • Good Citizen Project Award Presentation  
  • Protect Your Home – Farm Visit  
  • North Yorkshire Youth Commission’s Big Conversation Conference  
  • Sexual Violence Awareness Week – Student VAWG Event at University of York  
  • International Women’s Day  

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: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/advice  
  • My Public Accountability Meetings with both Police and Fire services currently 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. www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/police-oversight/governance/governance-process/corporate-scrutiny-board/

I really appreciated all the events I was invited to attend over the last few months of 2022. I am very excited for all the community engagement opportunities ahead this year where I will be able to be out 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 April. 

Commissioner Zoë.