‘Children could be lost without social change,’ warns ex-commissioner

Hampshire's former Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes Picture: Sarah Standing (160101-8432)
Hampshire's former Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes Picture: Sarah Standing (160101-8432)
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AN ENTIRE generation of young people could be lost to bullying, crime and poor mental health if social change is not made, the outgoing police and crime commissioner has warned.

Simon Hayes also suggested local authorities, such as Portsmouth City Council, should have young offender teams and safeguarding children boards moved to the commissioner’s office.

He said a commissioner’s dual role was to ensure crime was prevented and young people were worked with, as well as holding police to account.

Mr Hayes was speaking to The News setting out what he has achieved as he prepares to hand over the reins to Conservative Michael Lane tomorrow.

Mr Lane, a former Royal Navy commodore from Gosport, was elected to the Hampshire post last week.

His predecessor, Mr Hayes, said: ‘We lost two generations to two world wars. It’s not the same but we’re at risk of losing another generation to crime, to bullying, to mental illness, to depression and we should try to prevent that.

‘I think in the three-and-a-half short years we began to put that in place, and I would have liked to have the opportunity to develop that.

‘I started from scratch, I didn’t have the support team, I had to make the contacts in those different areas, so it’s really only been the last year or 18 months where we’d begun to see things happening in a very small way.’

He set up the Youth Commission with 87 youngsters, worked on the restorative justice project called the Hampshire Community Court, and reintroduced cadets.

He said all of this was to work with children and prevent the roots of crime, in turn reducing police demand.

He added the role should be expanded to take on local authority responsibilities, especially in light of possible devolution splitting the county.

‘The protection of vulnerable children, the safeguarding board, the way that we deal with the young offenders at the moment, all that, I think there will be an argument for local authorities not to have that responsibility,’ Mr Hayes said.

‘If we’re going to have Hampshire split into two we would have a patchwork.

‘It makes sense in my mind for police and crime commissioners to deliver those services so there’s a single point of reference.’

Mr Hayes, who has spent 29 years in local politics, added it was ‘not likely’ he would stand again for the commissioner job in 2020.

He was the first person elected to the post in November 2012 when the role was created by the government.

Mr Hayes hired the new chief constable, Olivia Pinkney, before the election, and was responsible for holding Hampshire police to account.

He said he will spend this week thanking his supporters and getting some rest before looking for a new position.

SIMON HAYES ON...

FRATTON STATION

‘It’s the worst in the estate. It’s not what we want. It’s pretty grubby.

‘It’s one of my regrets we didn’t manage to do that or get it started – that was not my fault or my team’s fault, we didn’t find a bit of land.’

BOBBIES ON THE BEAT

‘Having police in a high street is not going to prevent child sexual exploitation, it’s not going to stop people being defrauded.

‘The public need to think about that and understand the threat, risk and harm to them is changing.’

PRIVATISING POLICE

‘Citizens need to know they’re being protected by a public body because if a private sector body, as we saw with the Olympics security, if they fall over on their responsibility and the state doesn’t have the capability to pick up the pieces, then the criminal gets away with it.

‘We need to do all we can to protect the police from the private sector.’

BUDGET CUTS

‘Police will be expected to do more with less money and I have no doubt in my mind the money available for policing in Hampshire is going to reduce – not to the level over the last four or five years at a rate of £12.5m a year, more like £2m or £3m a year.

ACCOUNTABILITY

‘There were birthing pains for the police – never before has the chief constable had to answer to a member of the public that he serves.’

POLICE AND THE MEDIA

‘There needs to be a balance. I think we’re not there yet and clearly there is a right time and wrong time to put things out in public.’

NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING

‘We’ve got to have neighbourhood policing. When we can breathe again some years along we can expand it.

‘That’s why I ring-fenced PCSOs so we wouldn’t lose that in the community.’

COMMISSIONER ROLE

‘It’s just not physically possible to be everywhere so when people say “I don’t see him” they’re never going to.

‘The public don’t understand what I do.

‘They expected me to be like their MP who they see on a regular basis.’