Arson incidents on Corby’s Kingswood estate have fallen by almost 60 per cent, following the launch of an operation to tackle the issue.
Operation Revive began in October 2015 to help cut arson in the area, and was led by the joint Arson Task Force (Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service) and the Corby Community Safety Partnership.
The partnership involves agencies including Corby Borough Council, Community Payback, Kingswood Neighbourhood Association and the Youth Offending Service.
Statistics show that between January and the end of September 2015, there were 24 deliberate fires in Kingswood. But during the same period in 2016 there were 10 deliberate fires recorded. This represents a fall of about 58 per cent.
Shaun Johnson, Arson Taskforce coordinator, said: “We have come a long way in 12 months, with a reduction of just under 60 per cent in deliberate fires.
“I’m grateful for the huge support we have had from partners such as Corby Borough Council, who really got behind this campaign. The public living in the area have also clearly taken our messages to heart and have obviously taken on part of the responsibility of protecting their own area by supporting activities such as reporting fly-tipping – which can so easily become an arson risk.”
Throughout the past 12 months, numerous activities have been carried out in the area, which have been supported by various agencies. These have included rapid response to reports of flytipping, the distribution of information packs, and special Take Action weeks in which members of Corby Borough Council and the Arson Task Force went door to door, consulting with local residents on some of the key issues.
Other projects included community litter picks, such as the Clean for the Queen event which took place in March. The Community Payback team also made environmental improvements including painting and maintenance to garage doors.
Activities were also provided for young people in the area, included Halloween themed activities at the Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre, and a nearby street football project.
Education work was carried out with local residents in terms of where and how wheelie bins are stored (these can be a common target for arsonists).
The work of Neighbourhood Wardens also supported the operation by investigating instances of fly tipping visible on the estate.
Northamptonshire Police provided positive enforcement, resulting in significant action being taken on the estate regarding suspected offenders.
The independent crime fighting charity Crimestoppers supported the operation by funding Fearless projects carried out at secondary schools in Corby, including the performance of dramas aimed at this age group. The dramas focused on a hard-hitting storyline involving two teenage girls, which touched on issues ranging from underage drinking and peer pressure, to threats of arson and injury.
Fearless is the dedicated youth service of Crimestoppers and works to promote the website Fearless.org, which provides young people with information about the types of crime that are common to them and gives them the opportunity to pass on information about crime anonymously.
Deputy Leader of Corby Borough Council, Councillor Jean Addison, said: “Corby Borough Council, as part of the Community Safety Partnership, is committed to creating a safer environment for residents, especially as the darker nights draw in. I am extremely pleased to see such great results from Operation Revive and look forward to continuing our partnership work to tackle any further issues that may arise.”