Police and fire work together to keep Oxfordshire safe

Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with Thames Valley Police to pilot a new way of sharing fire and crime prevention advice with residents.

Firefighters and Police Community Support Officers in Oxfordshire are combining their expertise to offer home safety checks that will provide fire safety and crime prevention advice in a single visit, as part of a pilot scheme that will start in Carterton and the surrounding areas of West Oxfordshire this month.

The pioneering initiative by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police will mean that when Police Community Support Officers visit homes, they will be trained to spot fire-related risks and offer fire safety advice on the spot instead of referring people to the fire service to arrange a second visit. Equally, when firefighters visit homes they will be trained to look for signs of when someone is vulnerable to crime and offer advice to residents about how to protect their homes and avoid being a victim of door-step crime for example. It is hoped that by working together in this way a greater number of households can be visited and made aware of all the risks in and around their home.

Dave Etheridge, Chief Fire Officer at Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We have always worked closely with Thames Valley Police and this is an excellent example of offering the people of Oxfordshire an improved service. By combining fire safety and home security advice, we can provide important community safety messages in an effective, seamless way that makes the best use of resources. Prevention is key to reducing crime and improving fire safety and I look forward to further joint initiatives with the police service."

The pilot will run for six months so that the impact of the new approach on community safety can be monitored.

Chief Superintendent Andy Boyd from Neighbourhood Policing and Partnerships at Thames Valley Police said: “This is a great example of how partnership working can work for not only the community but also for two agencies such as the police and fire service. I am looking forward to seeing the results from this and continuing our work supporting the fire service.”