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Environmental audits initiative

A partnership between Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Police and Neighbourhood Wardens is starting to reduce arson in and around the Portsmouth and Havant areas.

The three organisations have joined together to launch an initiative of ‘Environmental Audits’ whereby a known arson area is identified and an officer from the fire service, police and a warden physically walk around the area to identify the problems before the fire is started. These ‘hot spot’ areas become a focus of all three organisations. Records are kept and photographs taken and the audit is passed to Portsmouth City Council.

Fred Brown, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager of Portsmouth and Havant, says of the scheme,

“In the past, each organisation would individually try to resolve issues in the area. The police would look to reduce the crime of arson, the Fire Service would look to prevent deliberate fire setting and has an aim to reduce fires started deliberately by a minimum of 10% by 2010, while the wardens would be looking to make the community a safer and tidier place to live. We soon found we all had a common aim. Working in partnership saves time, finances and resources as well as achieving a positive result for all organisations and the community as a whole.”

Inspector Dave Elkins, Hampshire Police also added,

"From the police's point of view, this preventative work is vital. Identifying potential crime hotspots is obviously a key part of our work. It stops small problems from turning into larger ones which is clearly beneficial to the local community as well as to the emergency services. This joined-up partnership work is exactly what is needed and I hope the community have already started seeing the effect of and will welcome our efforts."

An Environmental Audit will also be undertaken in the surrounding area.