This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Official day one: focus on children & young people

Today marks the first official day of work for the newly elected Police & Crime Commissioners. What they do today will be a signal for what is to come. If you are a PCC reading this: what are your priorities today?

If I were PCC, I would spend the day focusing on those people who I knew did not vote for me because they were not able to: children and young people.

I would hope that I do not really need to make the case for this priority given recent news of widespread abuse and the clear (and I know a little cheesy) fact that 'children are our future'. And teenagers especially are often demonised as perpetrators of crime and anti-social behaviour whereas they are far more likely to be vulnerable victims of crime.

So here are ten things that a PCC might do today (and beyond) to help these vulnerable young people:
  1. Begin the process of appointing a Youth Commissioner (an excellent idea first floated, I think, by Ann Barnes, Kent PCC)
  2. Set in train the creation of a local summit on child protection & the prevention of abuse to exchange good practice and generate a good 'stractegy' - not another 'strutegy'
  3. Ask the Chief Constable to produce a note on what the force has learnt in the last few months especially about how to tackle and prevent crimes against children & young people and how this learning is being embedded in professional practice
  4. Issue a request via the local media for people and organisations to send in examples of great practice in the field of child protection & the prevention of crimes against young people
  5. Make contact with all the youth councils in the PCC's area and set up a schedule of 'getting to know you' meetings
  6. Ask all the major criminal justice agencies in the area (including the police naturally) to explain how well they listen to and act upon the concerns, fears, hopes and dreams of the children and young people they serve (directly or indirectly) 
  7. Appoint someone to do some 'hurdle and girdle' research into what is slowing or constraining the capacity and capability of the police service to tackle crimes against children and young people robustly so that overall levels come down
  8. Begin the process of establishing a single composite measure of these crimes against young people and children so that progress can be assessed
  9. Invite the public, via the local and social media, to advocate what more might be done in this field of criminal justice
  10. Invite the NSPCC, Childline, Banardos and other key local/national bodies who specialise in helping vulnerable young people to suggest their ten actions for PCCs to take

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