I AM delighted to have recently hosted two successful events in the Portsmouth area.
The first was my regular Commissioner’s Performance, Accountability, Scrutiny and Strategy, COMPASS, meeting where I hold the Chief Constable to account in a public setting.
This was held at Highbury College where the debate focused on Young People, Crime, and the police.
The second was a conference at the University of Portsmouth where the theme was anti-social behaviour (ASB).
Both drew large audiences and highlighted the level of interest from the wider public about ensuring we all play our part in ‘protecting people and places’.
At the COMPASS meeting I challenged the Chief Constable on what the constabulary was doing to break down barriers between young people and the police, to prevent young people becoming the victims and perpetrators of crime.
COMPASS also gave Chief Constable an opportunity to highlight key areas within the Constabulary’s Youth Strategy, written in response to my request for the Police to address more effectively the way it deals with both younger offenders and victims of crime.
We touched on how Restorative Justice is being used to resolve issues, prevent reoffending and help victims overcome the effects of crime.
An example of this is the Community Court project, which we are piloting in Fareham and Gosport.
Preventing radicalisation of young people is an issue that everyone interested in protecting people and places will be anxious to know is getting focus.
I have met with representatives of Portsmouth City Council and am reassured to hear plans are being implemented to safeguard and support residents; I look forward to working with all councils across the region, as they take on their lead responsibility for tackling this challenge, through the PREVENT counter terrorism strategy.
More on this COMPASS meeting can be seen by viewing the unedited recording on my website hampshire-pcc.gov.uk.
My ASB conference served to bring together practitioners, victims, perpetrators, and academics involved with ASB to discuss the root causes and challenges of ASB and share best practice and innovative ways of preventing or intervening to tackle this offence.
Although young people are often seen as the cause of ASB, they can also be very much part of the solution.
One of the speakers at the conference was 21-year-old Louis from Portsmouth who, through getting involved with the independent charity affiliated to Portsmouth Football Club, Pompey in the Community, turned his back on anti-social behaviour and now helps young people at risk of offending.
I am proud to have Louis involved with my Youth Commission.
One message that came from the conference was that long-term multi-agency prevention work is considered to be more effective than isolating through enforcement.
Closing gaps in youth provision, increasing tolerance, changing perception, and building positive relationships with trust between all members of our communities were highlighted as ways forward.
Through the influence of my Youth Commission and support for local projects (in the last three years, about £1m in 30 ASB related schemes), I am working to address the problem of ASB to secure a brighter future across generations.