A presentation by Philip Allott, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC).
Philip Allott gave a presentation on his priorities and plans, as summarised below:
· The focus in the first three months has been upon getting out and about and meeting with staff across the Police and Fire and Rescue Service
· Priorities include the safety of women, support for victims of crime, greater use of youth diversion, tackling drug supply and drug use, reducing anti-social behaviour, dealing with cross border crime
· There is to be a renewed focus upon tackling rural crime and issues such as speeding on rural roads and road safety in general, noisy motorbikes, dog theft and wildlife crime
· Work will be done to supported the retained/volunteer fire fighters and small rural fire and rescue stations
· There is a need to develop the relationship between the Police and local communities so that they are better able to work together to promote community safety
· Address the problems that exist with the 101 service
· Noted that the public appeared in general to be less tolerant following months of lockdowns and restriction during the pandemic
· Currently consulting on the Police and Crime and Fire and Rescue Plans
· There will be a need to appoint a deputy PFCC by May 2022. This is a statutory requirement.
There followed a discussion, the key points of which are summarised as below:
· Concerns were raised about the frequent movement of Police Officers during their career and the difficulties that this often caused when trying to develop lasting relationships in the local community
· PCSOs were seen as being a key link as they moved around less and were move visible and available in the community
· The greater use of Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems in rural areas was highlighted as a simple and efficient way of tracking speeding and other driving related offences
· ANPR could also be linked to decibel meters to enable motorcyclists with noisy exhaust systems that did not meet legal limits to be identified
· The renewed focus upon Ripon in recent months was welcomed as was proposed investment in the existing Police and Fire and Rescue stations, which were not seen as being fit for purpose.
County Councillor Andy Solloway asked whether the PFCC will continue to make pots of seed funding available for community-based projects.
In response, the PFCC said that there will be opportunities to bid for funding to help promoted community safety projects and initiatives.
County Councillor Stanley Lumley said that more needed to be done to support volunteer fire fighters and ensure the long term future of rural fire stations.
The PFCC said that approximately half of the fire and rescue workforce was made up of on call fire fighters. Over the years, there had been improvements in fire and road safety, which has meant that there is less for on call fire fighters to do. The low levels of emergency call outs can affect recruitment and retention. Part of the solution will be to do more training and realistic exercises, a review of the shift patterns and a re-think of how rural fire stations are used. There may be a case for developing them into local business and community hubs.
County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE asked what action was being taken to tackle rural crime and crimes against animals.
In response, the PFCC said that the existing Rural Taskforce would be beefed-up and greater use of existing Police powers would be made to tackle wildlife crime. In many cases, the powers of the Police were limited, when the alleged offence was on private land with the landowners consent.
The PFCC said that greater use would also be made of modern technology, such as the use of drones which would extend the reach of Police officers and PCSOs in rural areas.
County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE summed up and thanked Phillip Allott for taking the time to attend the meeting.
a. That the committee receive an update on progress after the first 12 months in office.