South Yorkshire safety teams have joined forces, in an ambitious fire and police collaboration project.
The joint community safety department brings together staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police to work together with the shared aim of keeping people safe.
The leadership within each service believe the joint department will make both organisations’ work to prevent emergencies and reduce demand more efficient and effective.
High profile activities the teams currently undertake include home safety checks, crime prevention visits and youth engagement activities, such as the award-winning Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which has helped to transform the lives of more than 200 young people in two years.
The teams also operate the Lifewise Centre, which is an interactive safety centre in Hellaby, Rotherham. It opened in 2011 to deliver education packages to more than 20,000 local people every year, including nearly every Year 6 pupil in South Yorkshire.
Area Manager Steve Helps, who was jointly appointed by both organisations to lead the team, said, “Police and fire have worked closely to make people safer for many years. But we truly believe that by bringing together the skills, experience and specialisms of both teams, we can do even more to reduce demand and better protect the communities we serve. Vulnerability in our communities is going up at a time when our resources are not, so we need to become even more targeted in what we do and the people we engage with. This project is about meeting that aspiration and providing early intervention to better meet our future demands.”
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said, “I’m pleased that South Yorkshire’s police and fire and rescue service are collaborating to form a joint community safety department and look forward to hearing more about the benefits this brings to local communities. The Government introduced a number of measures to facilitate greater collaboration between our emergency services, which presents a real opportunity to provide a more efficient and effective service to the public.”
The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police Stephen Watson, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Jamie Courtney, Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and Chair of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Chris Lamb signed a collaboration agreement earlier this year to outline the terms and vision of the work between the organisations.
Other big collaboration developments have included the development of a joint police and fire station in Maltby and the appointment of a Head of Joint Vehicle Fleet Management and Head of Joint Estates and Facilities Management.