Community safety event highlights importance of collaboration in the East

4th April 2017

Ensuring the safety of our communities is not just a task reserved for our police force. A recent East of England LGA event explored how we can address complex community safety concerns by creating more efficient and effective collaborations between different service providers.

Over 100 attendants from across the East of England, working in front line services as well as in research and prevention, met to exchange ideas on the different challenges their sectors face. Speakers shared their experience in a range of workshops spanning diverse topics from public health perspectives to the safeguarding of children and adults with complex needs.

Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Brandon Lewis gave the conference keynote address highlighting some of the region’s best practice cases where collaborations have led to improvements in delivering community safety. In particular, he mentioned Essex as a positive example where knowledge sharing between police and fire through the Operation Insight approach has led to a 29 percent reduction in burglaries across Essex since the project’s inception.

The Minister also drew attention to the Safer Peterborough Partnership which increased mobile access to information for fire and rescue crews by outfitting their teams with ChromeBooks.

The Minister’s key message for practitioners was that increasing collaboration would improve the quality of services provided. He was very impressed with the work currently undertaken by the seven police forces in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent who are developing joint training, procurement and vetting processes—a project which will create greater awareness of security needs across the East of England and a smoother service delivery.

The importance of improving collaboration across services became a key theme for the day. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, Jason Ablewhite, also stressed its importance in preventing both first offences as well as reducing the number of re-offences. This goal is complicated by the fact that it requires different organisations to find ways to communicate efficiently, but Commissioner Ablewhite was confident that services across the East had the desire as well as the ability to achieve a higher level of integration in their communication.

The conference attendants exchanged ideas and experiences during breaks and workshops provided the opportunity to delve into new research into the security challenges the internet poses for our communities, as well as hear from practitioners who are implementing cutting-edge solutions for crime prevention and community well-being.

Attendants left the event with a new sense of the future challenges in community safety as well as an increased knowledge of what future collaborations could look like in the region. We are looking forward to seeing new partnerships grow out of the Safer Communities through Stronger Partnerships Conference.

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