The men and women of Harrogate's emergency services helping to keep you safe over Christmas

Alex Nicholson, Paul Cording, Martyn Hughes and Beth Fisher
Alex Nicholson, Paul Cording, Martyn Hughes and Beth Fisher

While families are gathering around the Christmas tree it’s the emergency services who we have to thank for keeping us safe over the holidays.

Alex Nicholson, 45, Critical Incident Inspector for North Yorkshire Police:
“My team is part of our front line response, so it’s what the public expect it’s like when they call 999 or 101, getting to the jobs we need to respond to as quickly as possible irrespective of the time of the day across Harrogate, Craven, Hambleton and Richmondshire.


“It’s whatever we come into that day, so if we come in and there’s lots of prisoners in the cells we get involved there. We have a system of threat, harm and risk, so it’s whatever we assess to be the biggest source of risk or threat that we put the resources towards. If there is a rare occasion where there is nothing urgent it’s a question of pro-active policing and working through the calls to the service.
“We stick to shift patterns over Christmas, and my team are on earlies from December 25 to the 28. We have slightly reduced staffing on bank holidays, but not by much, and the majority of us will be working a 7am to 7pm shift on Christmas and Boxing day.


“This is the first Christmas I have worked over here with North Yorkshire, since I transferred from Greater Manchester Police. Generally the holidays are quieter days. Businesses are shut, so that makes a difference as we don’t get the same amount of shoplifting. The streets tend to be quieter so we don’t get as many road traffic collisions, but we do have less resources on duty.


“Some of our priority work at this time are domestic incidents, which you get plenty of at Christmas. Families spend time together that aren’t normally in the same room, and issues crop up that wouldn’t when they are apart.


“You do get a good feeling working over Christmas, but I do have a three-year-old at home so our family will celebrate on Christmas Eve. I’ll be doing my shift on the day and catch up with him before he goes to bed after I finish at 7. If you work these shifts you have to be flexible, your family too.


“It will be business as usual for us though, and if the public need us we will be here. We always plan ahead, look at demand in the previous year and the force will have made sure we are prepared for whatever gets thrown at us. Hopefully it will be a peaceful Christmas, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be, but we are there if required.”

Are £75m Crescent Gardens plans on track? Here's the answer

Sgt Paul Cording, 47, Roads Policing Sgt for North Yorkshire Police:
“Working over the festive period goes with the job, as it does for many of my emergency services colleagues. We know when we sign up that on occasions it will be our turn to cover these times, and it’s only fair that we share it around so our teams can get time to share with their families.


“I am working Christmas day this year from 7am until 7pm as duty Roads Policing Sgt for the whole of North Yorkshire which covers some 6000 miles of the county's roads. There really is no typical day as by the very nature of our job, no two days are the same. I have worked a number of Christmas days in my service and they can range from being very steady, we never use the ‘Q’ word in the 999 family environment, to other times where it has been non-stop going from job to job for the entire shift.


“With a bit of luck it will be somewhere in between and everyone will behave themselves, and make the right decisions. I am hopeful that I will get around the force to catch up with my team and also find some time to pop home during a break, grab a bite to eat and share it with my family in between keeping the roads of North Yorkshire safe for everyone.


“I would like to say a very Merry Christmas to all the residents, businesses and visitors to Harrogate who have supported us this year and wish them all the best for a healthy and happy 2019.”

Primary school league tables: How did your Harrogate school score?

Martyn Hughes, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager:
“As a firefighter Christmas can be a strange time of year, there is both a stronger feeling of togetherness within our teams with food & gifts much like a family, yet when the bells go down, somehow not knowing what you are about to be faced with seems to carry even more weight & meaning given that it may be life changing for any one of those involved.”

Beth Fisher, Midwife at Harrogate District Hospital’s Maternity Department:
“We take it in turns to work over Christmas but it’s actually really good fun. Although obviously people would prefer to be at home with their families it’s a really nice environment to to be in, everybody is in really festive spirits, wearing Christmas hats and things like that.


“I think there’s something magical about bringing Christmas babies into the world as well which puts people in good moods.
“It can be really hard as well though. We never know quite how busy we are going to be until the day arrives, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean it’s going to be quiet, it’s still a working day.
“But we tend to decorate our uniforms with Christmassy bits and we all bring some food in for a Christmas buffet spread for everyone to enjoy.”

Harrogate care worker stole over £8,000 from women who were blind, deaf and had learning disabilities