Home Secretary visits Northamptonshire Police after uplift announcement

Northamptonshire Police has reached and exceeded its target of 1,501 police officers – the most the Force has ever had – will bring a renewed focus on neighbourhood policing that delivers safer communities right across the county.

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is working with Chief Constable Nick Adderley to further increase the number of police officers working in dedicated neighbourhood policing teams and to strengthen the connection with local communities.

Stephen said: “I made a promise to do everything I could to increase the number of police officers in Northamptonshire, firstly using investment from local council tax, and then through the Government’s Uplift programme. I’m proud to say we have reached the target I set of 1,500 officers, and more.”

Stephen Mold said that the Force’s success at recruiting more officers has been recognised by the Home Office, which is giving Northamptonshire Police grant funding of almost £2 million under the Uplift scheme. This additional funding will be used to ensure that the higher number of police officers can be sustained in the medium term.

Big increase in Home Fire Safety Visits 

More than 5,600 visits have been conducted by Northamptonshire fire crews and fire staff to help some of the most vulnerable people across the county live safer in their homes.

The visits were conducted between April 2022 until March 2023, with almost 1,400 more visits conducted than in 2021/22 as COVID rules were relaxed.

Approximately two thirds of the visits are conducted by fire crews from the 22 stations around the county, and one third are carried out by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention Team and their Home Fire Safety Advisors, who focus on the most vulnerable people with the most complex needs.

These enhanced visits to high-risk people will ensure that risk in their homes are thoroughly evaluated and made safer, often through the addition of working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

The advisors can also make Winter Warmth referrals where they can be put in touch with experts to help them come up with the most financially viable way in which to safely heat their homes.

The cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on many of these vulnerable residents, some of whom can make desperate attempts to heat their homes in an unsafe manner such as with open fires, gas cylinders or using oven hobs.

Tina Collett, a Prevention Team Leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Since the pandemic we have increased the size of our Home Fire Safety Team and it is so rewarding to see the number of Home Fire Safety Visits we are conducting increase further as a result. It means we can support even more of our most vulnerable residents and ensure that their homes are safer.”

Increase in police officers will mean boost in neighbourhoods

Now that Northamptonshire has more police officers than ever before, the focus will be firmly on increasing the strength of neighbourhood policing teams.

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Neighbourhood policing will receive another boost in the coming months. It’s  important to me to get more police officers out into the heart of their communities.

“I know that people want to see more visible policing, with police tackling the issues that matter most in their neighbourhood, crimes like anti-social behaviour and drug dealing and violence – I hear that repeatedly.

“The Chief Constable and I have a shared ambition to engage even better with local communities and work with all partners in problem solving and preventing crime in the long term.”

Operation Revive, an approach to tackling neighbourhood crime in Northamptonshire that has been extremely successful in tackling crime in Wellingborough and is a model that will be rolled out to other areas.

Chief Superintendent Adam Ward, Northamptonshire Police lead for Neighbourhood Policing, said: “In the past, police have just dealt with policing problems, using hard-hitting enforcement tactics, and arresting drug dealers to tackle county lines for example. But when you do that, other drug dealers come along to take their place.

“Op Revive takes a longer term, holistic view of improving the quality of life in an area, with a strong focus on prevention. Police officers are working in close partnership with local authorities, schools, and other partners to improve the environment, improve infrastructure, create youth provision, and find every way to  create a hostile environment for crime.”

New Roads Policing Team brings expertise and focus

Northamptonshire Police now has a dedicated, specialist Roads Policing Team for the first time in more than a decade.

Nick Adderley, two police officers in uniform and the PFCC stood by three new police cars.

In its first two months of activity, the Team has completed 967 vehicle interactions with drivers and made 88 arrests.

The Roads Policing Team has responsibility for policing the road network and taking ownership for road safety and road crime policing. They will play a vital role in reducing road casualties, improving driver and rider behaviour and targeting and disrupting serious organised crime committed using the county’s roads.

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold ring-fenced money to invest in improvements in policing in Northamptonshire, and this has been used to cover the added costs of the Roads Policing Team.

The Police vehicle fleet is fitted with telematics to ensure that vehicles are used in the best way and that real time data is captured and used to enhance performance and make best use of every vehicle.

This has allowed vehicles from other departments to be repurposed for the Roads Policing Team, effectively saving the Force around £600,000 in costs.

Stephen Mold said: “I know that road safety is a major concern for most people, and I can understand why. Road use is part of our daily life and the number of people killed or seriously injured going about their day-to-day business is just too high.

“That’s why I am pleased to support the creation of the new Roads Policing Team to provide a dedicated, expert and very visible policing presence on the county’s roads, as well as dealing with travelling criminals who are using the county’s roads as they commit crime.”

The Roads Policing Team will be making use of tools such as the Automatic Number Place Recognition network, which received a significant investment to give police access to better intelligence about cars involved in crime and incidents.

Over the last 12 months, ANPR supported the police in making more than 900 arrests and detecting more than 3,000 traffic offences.

Community groups can also play their part in making Northamptonshire’s roads safer.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Road Safety Community Fund gives grants of between £500 and £5,000 to groups and organisations to help them run projects that tackle speeding, enhance road safety and other anti-social road use – using money that has come from fines paid by drivers who attend speed workshops.

Eighteen parish councils were awarded funding from the Road Safety Community Fund in the last 12 months.

Visit www.northantspfcc.org.uk/our-work/grant-schemes/road-safety-community-fund/ to find out more

New recruits welcomed to Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service

Twelve new recruits have joined Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service – and will now start the journey of becoming firefighters and being posted to stations across the county in the summer.

The new intake was officially welcomed to the Service on April 17 by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and Chief Fire Officer Mark Jones at the Service HQ at Darby House in Wellingborough.

It marked the start of a three-week induction that has seen them learn more about the organisation, including spending time with Fire Control – which fields 999 calls from members of the public – as well as the Prevention, Protection and Business Services teams.

In May, the recruits will then spend eight weeks at the Fire Service College in the Cotswolds, where they will undertake training on how to use breathing apparatus, put out distinct types of fires, deal with hazardous materials and administer first aid.

Once they have finished the intense training course at the College, they will have a Passing Out Parade before returning for three weeks further training at Northamptonshire – where they will then be posted to a Watch at one of the stations around the county.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Jones said: “Being a firefighter is an incredibly fulfilling role, and I hope they can all progress both as firefighters and as people in the time they spend with us.”

And Stephen Mold added: “It was fantastic to meet the new recruits, and this is an exciting time for them to join us. Over the last year, with the support of local people through their council tax, we’ve invested in eight new fire engines and have a state-of-the-art aerial appliance which will also be on the run shortly.

“This investment in equipment means that we have more resources to respond to incidents when our residents are in need and ensures our staff have the best tools available to do the job. The extra investment in our staff also means that we can dedicate more time to preventing incidents from happening in the first place, such as through our community work and Home Fire Safety Visits.”

Alleygating begins around Queensway estate as part of crimefighting project

Work has begun to gate off alleys around homes and the primary school on the Queensway estate to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour as part of the programme of work funded by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Streets project.

A total of 43 gates will be placed on several alleys that are behind homes, at side entrances and off open spaces – chiefly around the Shelley Road area. Residents and businesses were consulted before installation of the gates, which will help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in places where alleys are used to give cover or as escape routes.

Installation of the alley gates has begun and should be completed by the beginning of June. This is the latest phase of the scheme that has included fitting 594 new doors to 287 properties in Kiln and Minerva Way, fitting security lighting and rolling out security products to residents. This work has been done in conjunction with social housing provider Greatwell Homes.

The final phase of the Queensway Safer Streets project will be the installation of 15 new CCTV cameras, funded by the Commissioner as part of the project but installed and run by North Northamptonshire Council. That work is also already underway.

Almost £1 million – £689,000 in grant funding and £357,100 in match funding – will have been spent on making the Queensway area more secure as part of the Safer Streets project.