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66. Evaluation of a community public safety service pilot in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner commissioned Kada Research to evaluate North Yorkshire’s public safety service (PSS) pilot. The PSS provides generalist support to the community and targeted interventions preventing harm and risk, particularly to vulnerable residents in rural areas.

The pilot aims to improve local capacity across multiple services (initially including the North Yorkshire Police, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), and the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service) by providing support and targeted prevention interventions through specific services. It brings together several organisations to improve the safety and resilience of communities.

The PSS is a model based on an outcome-led Public Health approach. It focuses on ‘population’ not ‘the sector’ or ‘the service’. It was established on the understanding that it was not designed to deliver ‘quick fix’ solutions, but to address the underlying causes of vulnerability that could lead to harm, whether that be from crime, fire, or health-related matters, acknowledging that it would also benefit other organisations.

Importantly, Public Safety Officers rarely act for one of the partner services at a time. The PSS is premised on the fact that every time a threshold is crossed, vulnerability and need is assessed from all service perspectives, regardless of the original reason for crossing. This allows for a holistic approach to preventing vulnerability and reducing harm.

Kada’s evaluation report of Phase Three of the pilot, published in October 2022, incorporates findings from interviews with key stakeholders including members of the tactical and steering groups, and the Public Safety Officers. A logic model was developed; an analysis of recent PSO activity was undertaken, as well as an assessment of the impact and social value of the service. Case studies, which include testimonies from people who have been impacted by the public safety service and a PSO video diary, including two case studies on water safety and road safety, were produced. You can watch our video case study here.

Our research found that the pilot has been successful; the rationale for the service around preventing vulnerability and risk remains as relevant as ever and the service’s objectives are clear-cut. PSOs have helped vulnerable people and reduced risk. A team of four high-calibre well-respected officers were recruited and started to embed a preventative philosophy within the county and extend the reach of harm reduction activities providing crime prevention, fire safety, and health and wellbeing information, as well as supporting community problem-solving. There was a noticeable shift away from response to prevention activity and PSOs have been making themselves very visible in their local communities. The profile of the services has grown as a result.  It was concluded that there was consensus that scale-up of the service was both desirable and entirely feasible.

“The PSS represents an innovative pilot installed to prioritise community safety which has made a real impact on vulnerable individuals in North Yorkshire, as demonstrated in our project case studies. The project’s strength is its multi-agency, which helps service organisations move towards an out-come led approach and a more holistic service viewpoint.”

Bridget Bradbury-Hickey, Project Manager

“Working with the partners on North Yorkshire’s Public Safety Service (PSS) pilot made us realise the importance of connections in isolated rural communities. This project challenged us to think about the health and wider benefits of support for vulnerable residents in particular. It also demonstrated the tangible impacts of reducing harm and vulnerability through prevention activities at a time when our public services face a number of competing pressures. Our evaluation showed that officers on the pilot were multi-skilled, highly engaging and passionate about their local communities.”

Karl Dalgleish, Study Director

If you are thinking of commissioning an evaluation of a pilot service or similar project, or would like to hear more about large range of evaluation projects we undertake at Kada, please contact our Managing Director, Karl Dalgleish at karl.dalgleish@kadaresearch.co.uk.