Welcome to my February newsletter

Welcome to my January Newsletter

In my first newsletter as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York I will be covering the achievements reached in 2022, as well as updating on key issues and the progress I have planned for 2023. 

Going forward, this information will be sent out on a more regular, quarterly basis and I hope it demonstrates the very wide variety of work my office and I are involved in to ensure we are making a positive difference for the public, every day.  

Improving road safety

As Commissioner one of my first roles was to support the launch of a new and ambitious vision to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on North Yorkshire and York’s roads to as close to zero.

The new Safer Roads Strategy from the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership brought together key organisations from across the city and the county to focus on four areas – safer road users, safer vehicles, safer roads and learning lessons post-crashes.

The partnership is currently led by North Yorkshire Police and in 2022 I approved an investment of £300,000 which will be used to recruit a Road Safety Partnership Coordinator, undertake a formal review on how effective our use of enforcement is to improve road safety, provide educational materials and to further deliver initiatives such as the community speed watch programme and improving motorbike rider safety using our FireBike.
Promoting Road Safety at the Great Yorkshire Show on our combined services stand.

My office are committed in providing continued support to the Road Safety Partnership in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads while keeping everyone safe.
Public engagement
Members of the Skelton Layby Citizens Involved Problem Solving Project Working Group.

I have been privileged to meet so many of you over the last year and intend to do more of this in 2023.

As set out in my plans for both services, it is a priority to engage with all communities, to identify needs and risks and to reassure. I can’t do this without your feedback, and whether this is obtained through a survey, at a public event or through one of my advice surgeries, your voice matters.

Working with local businesses, councils and groups

Thank you to all of the local businesses, councils, chambers of trade and community groups for their time to meet me over the past year.

There is a rich synergy between ensuring North Yorkshire and York is one of the safest places to live and work and that in turn, promotes economic growth in our market towns, cities and rural areas. 

I want to make sure that our communities are involved and informed with all major decisions, so it's important that I hear from businesses, and communities about the issues that are important to them, and I look forward to meeting many more over the coming months.

If there is a meeting, or community event you would like me to hear about, please Contact us.

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

An issue I promised to prioritise when I was elected as Commissioner was violence against women and girls. In June 2022, and after much hard work, I published a new overarching strategy to address violence against women and girls across North Yorkshire and York setting out a collective commitment from groups and organisations across the area. 

Prior to launching the strategy, I ran a consultation with victims via six Victim and Survivor focus groups with approximately 30 individuals willing to share their experiences. Participants provided specific feedback on the proposed Strategic Priority Objectives and key areas of work which helped shape the final strategy. Also, for approximately four weeks in March 2022, I shared an anonymous open online survey to further ensure the voice of women and girls was heard. Over 800 people came to the survey, with 332 completing it.

Six strategic objectives are identified within the strategy – which I want to be judged against – which aim to create tangible change and make women and girls feel safe and be safe.
Since the strategy launch, I have initiated a board meeting with statutory partners for which I chair and will monitor progress against our objectives to provide transparency and accountability on how we are collectively improving the overall safety of women and girls.

A VAWG Professionals Sub-group has also been established, made up of representatives from local organisations working with women and girls including the Youth Commission, which will feed into the board to ensure we continue to adopt a person-centred and trauma-informed approach.

In December 2022 we launched the VAWG delivery plan, showcasing what is being done to tackle VAWG in North Yorkshire and York. Within six months we have already improved outcomes for an increased number of victims accessing VAWG specialist support services than in the previous 12 months – demonstrating how putting a spotlight on VAWG is making a difference across our community.
Our work to tackle VAWG in North Yorkshire and York featured in the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victims in Focus report published in 2022.

Review of North Yorkshire and York Services for Victims and Survivors

As Commissioner and Victim’s Champion I’m here to listen to the voice of victims and survivors and understand what has worked well since 2014 and what needs to improve further as I strive to shape services in the best interests of those using them. 

Therefore, in October 2022 I commissioned the research arm of the Independent Charity ‘Victim Support’, to look at the experience of victims and survivors of crime in North Yorkshire and York make recommendations on how services can further support them in future.
16 days of Action to Reduce Violence Against Women and Girls
To mark the VAWG 16 days of Action in November 2022, I released a series of six short videos to highlight the wide range of services available in North Yorkshire and York to support women and girls. They have collectively been viewed over 2,200 times across multiple online channels which continues to rise, and I hope this encourages more women to access services and seek support.
Charlotte's story
Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service
Crossroads Diversion Scheme
Women's Centre
Independent Domestic Violence Advisor Service
Survive - Rebuilding lives after sexual violence
Simon Dennis (Chief Executive - OPFCC), Zoë Metcalfe and Jenni Newberry (Assistant Commissioner) review the VAWG Strategy.

My Office and its team of staff also became a White Ribbon Supporter Organisation in November 2022, making a promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against Women and Girls.

This naturally aligns with the work we are already doing locally, which focuses on listening and engaging with women, tackling root causes of violence, increasing public confidence in local police, strengthening our multi-agency approach to address VAWG, enhancing support services for victims and facilitating behavior change for perpetrators.

More work in line with our White Ribbon Commitment will take place in 2023.
New Victims’ Centre update
The new victim's centre - before work has started.

One of the first decisions I made when I was elected as Commissioner in November 2021 was to approve investment of more than £1 million into a new Victims’ Centre including a dedicated, modern Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and Child Sexual Assault Assessment Service (CSAAS) facilities, and Video Recorded Interview (VRI) suites to provide an improved service for all victims of sexual violence or abuse.

I purchased a property in May 2022 on the out skirts of York which will need to undergo major refurbishment and my Office is working with local stakeholders to input architectural plans and ensure the new facilities will meet the needs of victims from across North Yorkshire and York using the new center.

Police & Crime and Fire & Rescue Plans 2022-2025

As your elected Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, it is my duty to set a Police and Crime Plan and Fire and Rescue Plan for North Yorkshire and York based on your priorities.

The plans detail my objectives for the police and fire service and the outcomes I expect to see over the next two years.
Commissioner Zoe introduces her Police and Crime Plan 2022 -2025
Commissioner Zoe introduces her Fire and Rescue Plan 2022 - 2025
Public Trust and Confidence surveys
Towards the end of last year, I launched two separate surveys to help gage the level of public trust and confidence in policing and fire services across North Yorkshire and York. Each take under 5 minutes to complete and are open to everyone regardless of if they have encountered police or fire services.

Responses will influence the work I do to promote change, hold the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to account and spread best practice and high standards. A more comprehensive perception survey is available for those who wish to go into more detail about their experiences.
Keeping young people safe
In October I joined Kerry Roberts in encouraging parents, guardians and care givers to start positive conversations with their teenage children about drugs, alcohol and other substances, before any harm has happened.

My team created the “NotMyChild” campaign which included a dedicated website, a series of videos, social media activity and a media campaign launch which attracted coverage from the BBC and ITV. I also wrote an open letter to all parents in North Yorkshire and York which many schools helped to distribute.

The campaign was inspired by the tragic story of Kerry’s daughter Leah who died after taking drugs in 2019 and as a parent myself, I continue to be inspired by Kerry’s determination to bring something so positive and inspirational out of something so tragic.

About 10,000 people have visited our website to find out more about the campaign and the five top conversations to start with their teens.
Later this year I will be launching a new campaign raising awareness of child exploitation and county lines gangs.
Funding Community Safety Projects and Schemes
My Community Fund which now also incorporates the Police Property Fund, is specifically for local organisations, groups or individuals operating solely or mainly within North Yorkshire and the City of York, who need money to help fund a new community safety project or scheme.

Funds from £500 up to £20,000 can be awarded for specific projects that support communities across the county. In 2022 I awarded £247,523.54 to 27 projects
Some positive outcomes from this community fund money which have been highlighted this year include:

The making of videos "Safety in the Dales"
New Senior Management for NYFRS
From left to Right - Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mat Walker, Commissioner Zoë, and Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson

Since May 2022 North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has secured a new permanent senior management team including a new Chief Fire Officer, Deputy Chief Fire Officer and three other senior leaders which I am confident can together lead the service into a strong and sustainable future, focused on valuing our people and the safety of our community. 
Risk and Resource Model Consultation
Myth busting around our Risk and Resource Model 2022
In May 2022 I had to consider proposals for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s new Risk and Resource Model 2022-2025, which sets out how the Service would seek to deploy its people, equipment, and resources.

To help me make a final decision, I launched a three-month consultation to listen to the public’s views on proposed changes to these services. The fire service and I also heard the views of fire fighters and staff.

During my consultation my office and I had many great conversations across communities, taking the opportunity to listen and discuss what the proposals would mean and how they were in the best interest of keeping people safe and feeling safe.

We created five videos which collectively gained over 11,000 views online with more viewings in person at engagement events. A dedicated website was set up to provide accessible information and 2,378 members of the public completed the online or telephone survey.

I made my final decisions in September 2022 based on extensive evidence and from listening to what is important to you, which you said was increasing and enhancing prevention and protection work to stop incidents from happening in the first place.

In December 2022 North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service published its final Risk and Resource Model for 2022-25 which I welcome and support.
Supporting Victims
Within my Office we operate an in-house Supporting Victims telephone-based service providing support to anyone affected by crime in North Yorkshire – one of only very few based within Commissioners' Offices nationally. The team delivering this work is made up of one Team Leader and six Victim Care Coordinators who assess the support needs of victims of crime and refer them to specialist commissioned services in line with the Victim’s Code. This helps people living in North Yorkshire to cope after crime and get their lives back as far as possible, to normal.

In 2021/22 my office commissioned services which received over 51,000 Referrals, engaged directly with almost 18,000 individuals to make progress against areas of assessed need, and consistently received over 90% cope & recovery service Satisfaction Rates from victims of crime.
'Be safe, Feel Safe' online booklet 
Together with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service we launched an online resource providing guidance to prevent fire related incidents in winter 2022/23 – especially for when heating your home.
Tackling Rural Crime
Commissioner Zoe with farmer Edward
As Deputy Chair of the National Rural Crime Network and having grown up in North Yorkshire, I’m more than familiar with our rural areas and will not let them be forgotten.

We must remember that North Yorkshire Police has one of the largest dedicated rural taskforces in the country, with 41 fully trained WCO’s (Wildlife Crime Officers) which nationally, is very strong compared to other forces. The team focuses on targeting offenders, providing bespoke crime prevention advice, and proactive rural operations. It also has a force-wide focus to improve the reaction to rural crime across all different ways the service works. 

In 2023 I will be spending more time with our rural communities and businesses, listening to their concerns and taking action to ensure they are protected.
Making Communities Safer - Reducing Burglary 
My visit to the #ProtectYourHome scheme, running in areas of Harrogate and Craven and encouraging people to sign up at

Using the Safe Streets awarded money,  £719,590, the 'Protect Your Home' scheme aims to prevent burglary and protect individuals, families and businesses in over 1,000 homes and 90 farms along the borders of Craven District and Harrogate Borough with West Yorkshire.

Following a security survey, homeowners can receive free security upgrades such as new locks for vulnerable doors, windows, garages and sheds, and alarm systems for farms and small holdings. For homes with suitable WiFi coverage the scheme also includes a RING video doorbell.

The more people who sign up in a community the more resilient to burglary that area becomes and so I encourage everyone eligible in these areas to visit my website:
Improving customer contact with the police #999 #101
North Yorkshire Police's Force Control Room

I have agreed to invest an extra £1.8 million into North Yorkshire Police’s Force Control Room to transform how quickly calls are answered and re-instate confidence amongst the public.

I am confident that the extensive proposal put forward by the Force will not only generate tangible improvements to call wait times which the public should experience directly, but that new resources will also support our fantastic staff within the Force Control Room to be able to reach the public quickly. 
Working alongside Councilors and MPs 
Devolution for York and North Yorkshire

Devolution is an amazing opportunity for North Yorkshire and York and for greater integration and collaboration between our public services, improving outcomes for our communities.

Under the proposals, the role of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner merges with the new Mayor of York and North Yorkshire and my team and I have been thoroughly engaged with the process to ensure a smooth transition in May 2024.

During 2022 I had thoroughly enjoyed engaging with North Yorkshire County and York City Councillors, Parish and Town Councils, and our MPs, be that through written correspondence, at virtual monthly briefing meetings or by working alongside them on specific local issues.

This included informed discussions over summer of 2022 around the Risk and Resource Model Consultation, promoting the Protect Your Home Scheme in eligible areas, and my involvement in discussions with the Home Office regarding concerns over proposals to repurpose the old Linton-on-Ouse RAF base as an asylum accommodation centre.

You can read about my involvement with Linton-on-Ouse before a decision was made not to progress with proposals on my website: Linton-on-Ouse – 2022

I hope to continue maintaining the great relationships I’ve established with our local Councilors and MPs into 2023.
Restructure of the Commissioner’s Office
My team supporting White Ribbon Day - to end men's violence against women.

Being Commissioner comes with extensive responsibility. The work that I deliver couldn’t be done without the collective effort of my Office and its team of staff who, like me, are dedicated to making a positive difference for the public every day.

In 2022 changes began being made to the structure of the Office to ensure the right people, in the right roles, were able to provide the right support with the right resources. This included discontinuing a number of existing but temporary roles, and a number of new positions were recruited for including a Director of Delivery & Assurance and Director of Public Confidence.

Later this year we will move out of our Granby Road office and work from police and fire service buildings in Harrogate to ensure that our estate is used as efficiently as possible, especially at a time of strain on public resources. This will improve our collaboration with the police and fire services whilst saving approximately £80,000 a year.

In early 2023 I will publish a delivery plan for my Office which maps out the extensive work its employees undertake and how this work strives to enhance public confidence, keep people safe and support victims in our communities.
OPFCC Complaints and Recognition Team
Complaints and compliments are handled by my office’s independent Complaints and Recognition Team, to ensure fairness for both residents and police and fire Services.

In 2022 the team successfully adopted the fullest and most ambitious option for police and complaints reform, making North Yorkshire the first area to adopt the model, and it remains only one of two Commissioner’s Offices to have done so.

There were 1400 complaints in 2022, 80% of which were resolved using a flexible, customer focused and effective approach.

An independent adjudicator was brought in to review the outcome of police complaints and found 48% have had outcomes of reasonable and proportionate handling and/or outcomes, 52% of cases were upheld or part upheld with further action required by NYP and exceptional standards were identified in 11% of the cases.
Improving Front Line Services  for Victims of Abuse and Violence
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is a major government department at the heart of the justice system that works to protect and advance the principles of justice.

In 2022, my Office put forward a number of bids to secure an additional £905,000 of MoJ funding to increase capacity and frontline delivery of local Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence victims’ specialist support services.

This included increasing the availability of counselling and talking therapies, a new dedicated support service and advice line to support Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women & girls who are at risk of or are experiencing Illegal Cultural Harm, and contribution towards Peer Mentors, a Volunteer Coordinator and domestic abuse after-crisis services in Harrogate & Craven.

You can find out more about how we support and commission services on my website: Commissioned services
HMICFRS Inspection of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Live broadcast from my Public Accountability Meeting to discuss the HMICFRS inspection report from spring 2019 to spring 2022.

I welcome regular inspections from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), because the reports are an independent and rigorous assessment which I can use to ensure our Police force and Fire and Rescue services become outstanding.

The Fire and Rescue report which focused on the timeframe of spring 2019 to spring 2022 was disappointing but the people of York and North Yorkshire can be confident that should they require their Fire and Rescue Service in an emergency, the right people and support will come. The Service continues to be reliable with exceptional people, often risking their own lives to save the lives of the public.

Last summer I appointed an inspirational Chief Fire Officer and Deputy Chief Fire Officer who have in turn built a new Strategic Leadership Team. I have already seen significant improvements being made to the service and welcome HMICFRS back to see the progress we have made. I am very confident that together, we will lead the Service into a strong and sustainable future, focused on the safety of our communities and valuing our people.
I am expecting to receive another report from HMICFRS regarding the inspection of North Yorkshire Police and I will provide updates when this is released.
Child Protection Inspection Report 
Live broadcast from my Public Accountability Meeting focusing on on the Police's response to the HMIC Child Protection Inspection Report published in March 2022.

HMICFRS inspected North Yorkshire Police in November 2021, the report was a concern and disappointment to the Chief Constable and I.

It showed that while the Inspectorate found examples of good practice during the inspection in November 2021, it found inconsistency in North Yorkshire Police’s treatment of children across the cases examined.
Funding Our Emergency Services
The Precept - the amounts dedicated to policing and fire and rescue services, paid as part of a household's council tax bill.

In December 2022 I launched my precept consultation, something every Commissioner is required to do by law every year. It is never easy asking taxpayers for more money, and I know that many individuals and families are facing financial pressures, but our emergency services are also dealing with rising costs as they continue their vital work to keep us all safe.

Following careful consideration of public feedback, I have recently announced the precept for 2023/24 and want to thank everyone who shared their views and showing their continued support for both our police and fire and rescue services.
Public Accountability Meetings
Public Accountability Meetings are broadcast live and provide the public with an opportunity to ask their questions.

In 2022 I held 12 online Public Accountability Meetings discussing a range of topics including talent management, call handling, stalking, fire investigation, anti-social behavior, safeguarding, prevention and out of court disposals.

In 2023 I have plans to transform these online and in person meetings to reach and engage more members of the public. It is important to me that I demonstrate holding the Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer to account robustly based on things which matter most to our communities and so I will continue to encourage questions for discussion during these meetings.
Coming up in my Next Newsletter
  • Youth Commission
    We'll hear about their work and their 'Big Conversation'
  • Police, Fire and Crime Panel
    Find out more about their work and how we work together to ensure we are are keeping people safe and feeling safe.
  • Community Fund
    We'll have more updates on how the Community Fund is supporting communities to be safe and feeling safe.
  • HMICFRS Update
    Update on the progress following their inspection of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service.
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