Grant to centre using music to tackle knife crime

A community centre that uses music and recording equipment to help divert young people away from violence and knife crime is one of 13 youth-focussed projects to be given funding by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

The Springs Family Centre, based in Spring Boroughs, Northampton, has been the hub of community spirit over the last 15 years, and has offered a ‘safe haven’ for young people to come and express themselves through sport, music and the arts. This has helped divert many of these young people away from criminal behaviour, and now with extra funding courtesy of the PFCC, they are hoping to expand their offering to young people in the neighbourhood.

Already boasting a recording studio within the hub at Tower Street, the £9,900 funding from the OPFCC will help them add DJ equipment to the studio, as well as offering training courses through the NCFE.

Clive Ireson, who helps run the centre, said: “The aim is to bring young people in who may be at risk of involvement with knife crime or other criminal activity, and trigger their creative side using music and the arts. With this funding we’ll be able to expand and invest in some DJ equipment, and we know this kind of music is very popular with young people. We’ll be able to offer training and music courses that give them qualifications, and we hope we can help them into university or employment and show them that there is a career path in this.”

The Springs Family Centre is just one of 13 youth-focussed projects and road safety initiatives that between them have been given more than £50,000 as part of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Grant Scheme. The grants are available for any non-profit organisation within the county that support the delivery of the Police, Fire and Crime Plan.

Since April, the following groups have also received grants:

Rushden Primary Academy improved road safety around the school with signage, parking buddies and posters designed by the pupils; while Weedon Football Club have registered their first girl’s football team and bought kit and equipment to help girls make positive life choices in the future.

South Northants Youth Engagement secured funding to hold the Brackley Play and Activity Day, a free event promoting positive life choices and providing wellbeing and inclusion information to support the Commissioner’s early intervention priority.

The parish councils at Grange Park, Little Harrowden, Irchester, Walgrave, Chapel Brampton, Holcot and Roade all received funding for vehicle activated signs and speed indicator signs – as did Higham Ferrers Town Council. And Lilford Wigsthorp Thorpe Achurch Parish Council received funding to install traffic calming gates.

For more information on how to apply for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner grants, please visit the Grant Schemes page on the OPFCC website.

Team steps in early against domestic abuse 

A specialist team set up to tackle the earliest signs of domestic abuse has helped more than 1,400 families in the first nine months of this year.

When a police officer attends a call to domestic abuse, details of the incident are given to a multi-agency team that reviews every incident, every day to ensure that the highest risk are tackled quickly. This approach deals effectively with the more complex cases, but previously, there was no ability to tackle incidents that appeared to be lower risk, to prevent them escalating.

Specialist Domestic Abuse Practitioners  in a team working for Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold follow up each incident of reported domestic or family conflict that is low risk.

They try to understand what has sparked an incident, offering help and advice and signposting to other sources of support.

Support can be given to both the victim and the perpetrator, as well as any children who might have seen domestic abuse.

Sometimes the Team find earlier incidents of abuse that had gone unreported and will ensure that the proper action is quickly taken to safeguard the family involved.

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Through this project and the work of our Domestic Abuse Practitioners, people are receiving help who would not have done so before.

“This specialist team steps in when there is still an opportunity to prevent abusive behaviour from escalating and at a time when someone might be more motivated to accept help. I want people in this county to be confident to report abuse and confident that if they do, someone is there to help them.”

Fire Services helping to improve social skills in young people

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service teamed up with GAINN (Growth and Inclusion North Northamptonshire), a Community Lottery Funded Project, on a three-day course that delivers key life skills to young people experiencing social isolation, anxiety and mental health issues.

The course was designed to build resilience in young people and develop their communication skills. They were put through their paces in a mock road traffic collision where they had to manage the casualties, call Fire Control to explain what had happened and pass on information to the crew from Kettering Fire Station when they arrived at the scene.

They also practised basic lifesaving first aid, including how to conduct CPR on resuscitation dummies that were funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

Lisa Bryan, Prevention, Safeguarding and Partnerships Manager at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Working in collaboration with partners such as GAINN allows us to target often harder to reach audiences and help to ensure that the messages and advice we are delivering are relevant and engaging to those groups of people.”

Sixth successful bid for Safer Streets funding to boost crime prevention in the county

Almost £650,000 is to be invested in preventing crime in the county thanks to a successful bid to the Home Office Safer Streets fund by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.

As part of Round Five of the Safer Streets Fund, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has secured £646,570 to support practical and targeted projects to tackle burglary and vehicle crime and reduce violence against women and girls.

This is the sixth time that the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has made a successful Safer Streets bid since the scheme was launched four years ago. Rounds one – five focussed on neighbourhood crime and a sixth that focussed on tackling violence against women. As a result of those bids, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has been awarded nearly £4m to invest in crime prevention, and his office and partners have invested a further £1m to boost safety in communities across the county.

The three successful Safer Streets projects in this round are:

Weston, Northampton and Kingswood, Corby: A forensic property marking, and asset recording scheme called ‘Stand up to crime’ will be rolled out to residents to help tackle residential burglary. Equipment to find stolen property will be installed in custody suites and given to second-hand dealers.

Junction 15 A and Watford Gap M1 Services:  Several physical security measures such as improved fencing, lighting, CCTV and ANPR will be put in place to tackle theft from HGVs and other vehicles.

Violence against women and girls: Staff at bus and train hubs in the county will be trained to recognise when women are vulnerable and how to respond appropriately. Working with West Northamptonshire Council, a scheme will see taxi marshals working in Northampton town centre.

New approach to support young people who go missing 

An innovative approach to supporting young people who are at risk of going missing has been launched in Northamptonshire following a successful trial.

Young people who go missing are vulnerable and at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation. The aim of the pilot scheme was to see if by acting quickly and focussing on the young person involved, the factors causing them to run away could be understood and addressed, without support put in place to make it far less likely that they would go missing again.

The scheme builds on a pilot phase that ran for three months earlier this year, when a specialist Youth Worker from the Early Intervention Team that is based in the Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, visited every young person who had been missing three times or less, soon after their return.

Fifty-two young people in Northamptonshire went missing during the pilot phase, and Youth Workers visited each of them as soon as possible after their return – following up in more detail the statutory visit that all young people who have been missing receive from their local authority.

As a result, not one of the 52 young people involved – all aged around 14 or 15 – has gone missing again. In addition, 75 per cent of the young people has taken up the offer of further support.

Parents told the project team that they felt supported to deal with any issues the young person had revealed and knew how to contact a named worker
if they  needed further help.

A specialist Youth Worker will now be based in the Force’s Missing Persons Investigation Unit and the approach taken during the pilot scheme will now be standard in every case to prevent a young person from going missing.

National award for long-serving custody visitor

Geraldine Newbrook, an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) for the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, was named Runner-Up for Longevity in the Home Office’s Lord Ferrers Awards – which recognises volunteering in policing.

She was presented with her certificate by Chris Philp MP, Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, at a ceremony in London.

ICVs are volunteers from the local community who check on the welfare of people detained in police custody, to ensure they are receiving their rights and entitlements and that the conditions are satisfactory.

Geraldine has been volunteering in this sector for over 35 years, back when it was known as the Lay Visiting Scheme and had only just been implemented to build trust and confidence that detained people were being treated according to their rights and with dignity.

Geraldine has volunteered thousands of hours, visited hundreds of detainees throughout the county and dealt with any concerns, undertaken and delivered training, supported the planning of new custody centres and has supported recruitment of new ICVs. She was also responsible for the implementation
of picture cards for ICVs and detainees who may have difficulty understanding each other.

Geraldine said: “It’s not a nice experience for someone to be in custody, but I try to help make it as smooth as possible for them.

“Although we’re still very much independent, I feel like we’ve gained the respect of the people who work in custody over the years, and I respect the difficult job they do. They also know that if we find an issue, we will raise it with them so it can be dealt with.

“It’s fantastic to see the scheme still working all these years later, and of course I find it very rewarding – I’ve never thought of stopping.”

Firefighters recognised for outstanding public service

Northamptonshire firefighters and fire staff were rewarded for their outstanding public service recently at an annual awards ceremony.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold attended the event, on Friday November 3, to thank all those present for their contributions towards community safety over the last 12 months.

He also presented the Rushden day shift crew with their Community Award, after the crew held public safety events at Rushden Lakes, Stanwick Lakes and blood donation events at the station.

One of the Rushden crew, Alfie Pendred (pictured fifth from the left), was given a commendation by Acting Chief Fire Officer Simon Tuhill for rescuing a distressed man on a bridge over the A45 while off-duty.

Stephen Mold said: “It’s always a privilege to attend the awards ceremony and hear of the fantastic work that firefighters and fire staff have done to help protect our communities.”