Innovative approaches to community safety, which showcase examples of agencies working together to develop solutions to problems have been celebrated.
Hosted by North Wales Police, the fifth Problem Orientated Partnerships (POP) Awards were recently held at the Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction.
Problem Orientated Partnerships (POP) is a proactive approach to problem solving in a systematic and routine fashion. Rather than responding to crime and incidents only after they happen POP encourages agencies to work together to develop solutions to the immediate underlying conditions contributing to public safety problems. Where problems do occur, POP aims to understand and get to the root causes rather than simply putting a sticking plaster over the issue.
Applications for this year's awards opened in June with many of them later being shortlisted to the next stages. In September successful candidates presented their work to three judges including Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki. The winners were split into two categories – ‘Full POP Plans’ and ‘POP on a Page’. The finalists were:
Full POP Plans:
Winner: Mental health complex case
A 90-year-old female living with dementia in her own home receives care support numerous times a day. Between January and May 2022, the female called North Wales Police 471 times. Of these calls, all apart from 4 were made to the 999-emergency line. These 471 calls equated to 2,826 minutes or just over 47 hours of NWP Staff talking to her on the phone. These calls did not require a police response, but they were taking up emergency lines and call taker’s time.
Working together, Peris Hatton (Deputy Call Centre Manager, Force Control Room) and Caroline Currie (Strategic Mental Health Lead in the NWP Protecting Vulnerable People Unit) instigated a problem-solving multi-agency approach to better understand the needs of the female and ensure her safety in her own home, whilst reducing demand on North Wales Police emergency call takers.
Second: Cooking oil thefts
In July 2022 North Wales Police started receiving reports of the theft of cooking oil. It was clear that this was a new crime, reported nationwide and not just in North Wales. There were many “unknowns” as this crime trend was emerging with little knowledge. The vast majority in North Wales were being dealt with by the North Wales Police Managed Response Unit and were filed very early with limited investigation.
Sergeant Sue Carrington from the NWP Prevention Hub created a POP plan to tackle this growing crime trend.
POP on a Page:
Winner: Erddig Allotments
Erddig Road allotments are a council owned and run resource in a large rural area of Wrexham City. In October 2022 the location was highlighted following reports of a spate of burglaries to sheds on the site. Although the number of crimes was not vast, this was a spike which indicated a new trend emerging. Initial enquiries also indicated that many more crimes had occurred which had not been reported.
The awards heard of the problem-solving process undertaken by PCSO John Davies (from NWP Prevention Hub), Gillian Tizard (Allotment Coordinator) and Nicola Ellis (from Wrexham Council – Allotment Manager).
Second: Prosecution v Support
A 65 year old male with complex physical and mental health issues, registered blind and bedbound lived alone in his own home. Between May and October 2022 he made 124 calls to North Wales Police. The male was reporting a mixture of events including the smell of gas, requests to empty his urine bottle, assistance to reposition himself. He was repeatedly making unnecessary 999 emergency calls as well as behaving inappropriately with care givers.
Through their ‘POP On a Page’, Sgt Rhod Ifans (Wrexham Rural NPT) and Eira Roche (Checkpoint) demonstrated how an alternative option to prosecution was taken for this male, and how this has brought about organisational process change which will benefit others in the future.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Harrison said: “Partnership working is about recognising that no single agency or individual has all the answers. Instead, it's about sharing our strengths, resources, and expertise to find innovative and long-lasting solutions.
These awards celebrate the officers, staff, partners, business owners and community leaders who come together to better their communities and implement positive change.
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved with this year’s awards – from our expert judging panel members to our sponsors – and every single applicant who submitted their project to the awards. I am very proud of the excellent work that is happening right now across the communities of North Wales, which will inspire many others to tackle their work with a problem solving and partnership working approach.”
North Wales Police would like to thank this year’s Judges, sponsors and guest speakers for their expertise. These included:
Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Harrison
Professor Stuart Kirby – Professor of Policing at the University of Central Lancashire
Sylvia Chenery – Managing Associate of Applied Criminology Associates
Stephen Carr – strategy and delivery lead for the Home Office Organised Immigration Crime Unit, (OICU)
David Williams – Design Out Crime Officer (DOCO), North Wales