Agenda item

Update on progress with GFRS and Constabulary/PCC collaboration

To receive a verbal update on progress with GFRS and Constabulary/ PCC collaboration, focusing on the Shared Estate, Road Safety, and Community Safety.


Nick Evans, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), delivered a verbal update on progress with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and Gloucestershire Constabulary collaboration.


Members were informed that the Emergency Services Collaboration Board had now met on several occasions, at which GFRS, Gloucestershire Constabulary and, at the most recent meeting, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) were represented.


Members noted that GFRS and the Constabulary had been working together as part of the Safer Streets programme, which included fire officers taking part in holistic anti-social behaviour training, and both partners working together operationally, alongside landlords and local authorities, to identify and target the issues.


GFRS and the Constabulary had also been working together to provide preventative education to communities on fire safety and prevention of crime, ensuring the coordination of information provided.


Collaboration on road safety was ongoing. It was understood that education was critical in preventing deaths and serious injury on roads. A new Road Safety Coordinator had been employed by GFRS to coordinate the ‘What If’ programme, which was delivered to schools, joint with the Constabulary.


GFRS and the Constabulary had been collaborating on table-top exercises to ensure lessons were learnt from other areas on dealing with major incidents, and fire officers had attended a local police search management course to enable them to support the police in finding missing people.


In terms of leadership, the Committee was informed that GFRS colleagues had attended leadership courses run by the Constabulary, and that both partners had been involved in each other’s recruitment processes for senior officers.


It was announced, in terms of collaboration on the estates programme, that agreement had been reached for Newent and Winchcombe Fire Stations to become joint Police and Fire Stations. Nick Evans welcomed this opportunity for increased joint working, which would improve the safety and security of local residents, provide increased visibility, and increase the security of stations.


Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, echoed the comments on the strong relationship between GFRS, the Constabulary and the OPCC, particularly in terms of their joint working operationally, on leadership, and on community safety.


Several members praised the collaborative work being undertaken by GFRS and the Constabulary.


One member asked how the public could be made aware of the joint Police and Fire Stations.


Nick Evans replied that police vehicles would be visible at the stations, as well as signage, and police officers would be more visible in the local communities.


One member sought reassurance that there would not be secure custody suites within the joint stations.


In response, it was understood that the only secure custody suite available within Gloucestershire was located at the police headquarters. This was due to legal requirements and the need to provide a range of support to those taken into custody, such as mental health support, and drug and alcohol support.


Reassurance was also provided, in response to a further question, that the joint stations would retain their community aspects.


One member asked for advice relating to a policing issue within their division. Nick Evans agreed to discuss the matter with the member outside of the meeting.


It was queried whether the Constabulary had considered the joint use of Cheltenham West Fire Station. Nick Evans agreed to take away and consider this suggestion.


One member sought reassurance that the policing element within the communities where the joint stations would be located would be retained. In response, it was explained that the joint stations would enable police officers to be based within the communities rather than elsewhere, and that police officer visibility would therefore increase in these areas. The joint stations would also provide the opportunity to expand the use of the special constabulary and volunteers in these communities.


Clarification was sought as to the grade of fire officers attending the leadership courses provided by the Police at the Sabrina Centre in Berkeley. In response it was understood that it was generally middle managers that attended the courses, and that the courses taught general leadership skills rather than job specific.


It was requested that a short briefing note be produced summarising the verbal update that had been provided at this meeting to enable members to effectively scrutinise the information.


It was also requested that a further update on progress with collaboration between blue light services be provided in a few months’ time at a future Committee meeting.