Project which has cut arson on Corby estate up for national award

Shaun Johnson from the arson task force
Shaun Johnson from the arson task force

A project which has reduced arson on a Corby estate by more than two thirds is up for a national award.

Corby Community Safety Partnership’s Operation Revive has reduced arson and made positive changes for the community of Kingswood.

The partnership of Corby Council, Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service has been shortlisted for the category of ‘An outstanding approach to tackling anti-social behaviour’ in the UK Housing Awards.

They will find out if they walk away as winners at a ceremony held on Wednesday, April 26.

In October 2015 the Kingswood estate was shown to have the highest level of arson in Corby.

In just over a year Operation Revive has helped towards reducing the amount of incidents by an incredible 68 per cent.

Through a continuing programme of targeted interventions and highly visible activities the reduction in arson has made a difference to the community who live in the area and now describe their neighbourhood as ‘quiet’, ‘good’ and ‘improving’ and also feel considerably safer.

As part of Operation Revive the following actions were taken to reduce arson in the Kingswood area:

A single point of contact for all relevant intelligence and communications was set up and hosted by Corby Council.

Staff from all partnership agencies could then forward any information they felt of relevance to reducing arson, such as an abandoned wheelie bin, fly tip or an insecure garage door.

These issues could then be resolved.

A Week of Action was put in to place in order to liaise with the community and talk to residents about any issues, offer free home fire safety checks and discuss the importance of responsibly disposing of household waste.

Community litter picks were also held.

Corby Council used Community Payback to undertake enhancements to public spaces, in particular garage areas and communal walkways, brightening them up and instilling pride back into these areas.

Uniformed officers from all partnership agencies completed visible foot patrols, raising confidence and visibility.

Secure Euro Bin enclosures were installed at two sites on the estate as a trial were.

These are functional and aesthetically pleasing units that add positively to the general look of the area while securely enclosing bins that could be an arson risk.

Visits to three secondary schools were held by the partnership as an opportunity to talk and build up relationships with the students which was very well received by the schools and the young people.

Craig Spence, Neighbourhood Manager at Corby Council, said: “This operation is a positive example of how partnership working through pooling resources and information sharing can indeed effect positive change; most areas would view arson as simply a police or fire service issue but that is not the case here in Corby.

“We are very pleased to be working so close with our other public services and to see that our communities are being positively affected by the partnership work is fantastic.”

Insp Julie Mead of Northamptonshire Police Corby and Kettering Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “To be involved in an initiative that has reduced a crime such as arson by 68 per cent is something that Northamptonshire Police is very proud of.

“The co-ordination of this activity by Corby Council’s Community Safety Team truly highlights the benefit of effective partnership working.

“The multi-agency information sharing and problem solving is something that we do particularly well in Corby and Operation Revive and its positive outcomes underline this value.’

Shaun Johnson from the Northamptonshire Arson Task Force said: “The Arson Task Force are delighted with the joint partnership approach to the issue of arson.

“The support we have had from Corby Council’s Community Safety Team has been excellent and demonstrates the value of public engagement, the sharing of information and the multi-agency approach that has clearly contributed to the reduction of arson on the estate by 68 per cent.”