Teams from Northamptonshire Police and the county’s fire and rescue service have formed a single department focused on community safety and prevention, it has been announced today (Tuesday, April 1).
The formation of the Prevention and Community Protection Department is part of ongoing work to bring greater integration between the two blue-light services.
The creation of the new department has been described as “a landmark development” by the county’s chief constable, Adrian Lee. Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson has also welcomed the move.
The police community safety department and fire service community services and protection team are the first departments to come together under a single management team.
The new unit is headed by a senior fire officer, who leads a team of officers and staff from both the police and fire service. Staff will be based at police and fire stations across the county and at Moulton Park.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “This is a landmark development for the county’s police and fire services. Both services have the same duty and commitment to protect people from harm, whether that’s protection from and prevention of crime, anti-social behaviour, serious road collisions or fire.
“Bringing together the expertise of both police and fire specialists makes absolute sense and provides an exciting opportunity to work smartly with our colleagues from the fire and rescue service, learning and sharing the skills and challenges of another organisation.
“Police and Fire have worked in partnership for many years and this is just one area where we are working to further integrate both services, enabling us to make best use of resources for the benefit of the communities we serve.”
Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson added: “This is a really positive step and builds on the integration already achieved.
“The two organisations already work hand in hand during major incidents and emergencies and senior managers from both services have been working from a single headquarters since March last year.
“The joint Arson Task Force, which has been established for more than 10 years, has demonstrated the value and benefit of joint working and its approach provides a good baseline for the integration of the teams.
“Both services share the same vision of a safer Northamptonshire and we believe that an integrated police, fire and rescue service, along with other services, will achieve this.”
The Prevention and Community Protection team is headed by fire service area manager Mark Ainge. He said he was delighted to be leading the new team and believed it would provide an improved and better coordinated service for the people of Northamptonshire.
He added: “This is a really exciting opportunity to enhance the service we already provide to our communities. The aim of our newly combined team is to ensure both police and fire services in Northamptonshire put prevention at the heart of what we do.
“Our main focus is to prevent crime, anti-social behaviour, road collisions and fire and, by doing so, we will protect our communities from harm, reduce demand on both services and help make Northamptonshire a safer place.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds added: “This is another really positive move for the blue light services in Northamptonshire. The new department brings together the specialist knowledge and skills from both police and fire and is another step towards greater integration.
“We know people want to see their emergency services working closer together and, ultimately, our ambition is to create a single organisation to protect our communities and make Northamptonshire the safest place in the country.”
Cllr Andre Gonzalez de Savage, whose portfolio in Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet includes public protection, said: “It makes good sense to continue to strengthen the relationship between our fire and rescue service and Northamptonshire Police and build on the integration that has already been achieved between these two blue light services over the past year.
“The safety of the public remains at the top of our agenda and we believe that an integrated service is the best way to achieve this.”
Work to integrate the two services began last year. Senior managers from both services have been working from a single headquarters since March 2013 and, in August last year, the first combined fire and police station opened in Thrapston. The station has since been hailed by policing minister Damian Green as a model for other areas of the country.
Other areas of work, including joint training and shared vehicle repairs and servicing, are also underway.