An emergency services team on the frontline of keeping people safe during the pandemic has revealed the full breadth of its work, as it reflects on a year’s activity since the UK’s first lockdown.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police’s joint community safety department has delivered education packages to more than 8,000 children, visited 2,500 high-risk vulnerable people and given guns and knives training to over 2,100 pupils.
Thousands more children have attended internet safety sessions, 64 people accessed the department’s ‘Think Family’ arson intervention scheme and 11,000 school children attended the interactive safety centre- Lifewise- when Covid-19 restrictions were eased last year.
All of this came on top of the team’s efforts to support vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic, including deliveries of essential food and medicines to hundreds of homes.
Area Manager Simon Dunker, leads the joint department, said: “The last 12 months really have been a year like no other for us as a team, but I just feel so incredibly proud of the way our staff and volunteers have stepped up to help keep local people safe.
“Like so many organisations, we’ve had to adapt very quickly- suspending or transferring our core activities online the moment the first lockdown was announced, whilst also taking on new tasks to make sure vulnerable people in South Yorkshire were getting the support they needed.
“Staff from across fire and policing have risen to that challenge brilliantly, though of course we are now looking forward to delivering more face-to-face help to people as lockdown restrictions hopefully continue to ease throughout the remainder of this year.
The Policing & Crime Act 2017 placed a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The joint community safety department was formed in 2018, bringing together existing teams in the police and fire and rescue services.
The team’s core activities include the delivery of schools education work, safety visits to people’s homes and youth engagement initiatives such as its award winning Princes Trust Team Programme.