Children from Hartlepool quizzed Barry Coppinger about his role as Commissioner.
Friday 22nd November marked the first year anniversary of Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, taking office, and to mark the occasion he demonstrated his commitment to listening to the people of Cleveland by letting two young people ‘take over’ his role for the day.
Jordan Odgers, aged 17 and Hollie Lowery, aged 19, both from Hartlepool spent the day shadowing the Commissioner as part of the national ’11 Million Takeover Day’ which gives young people from across the country the opportunity to come into work places and better understand how they can influence decision making and make a difference within their communities.
The organiser of the event, Katy Larkin, from Hartlepool Youth Support Services said: “11 Million Day is an annual national event that empowers young people by offering them the opportunity to take over the role of key decision-makers for the day. Having the local Police and Crime Commissioner, along with other key strategic decision-making officers on board demonstrates the commitment shown by adults to hearing and listening to the valuable voice of young people.”
One of the Commissioner’s key commitments is to divert people from offending, and prevent re-offending, and work being undertaken in this area has a strong focus on diverting first time young offenders from entering into the criminal justice system.
The Commissioner and the young people visited youths taking part in Community Payback activities organised by the Stockton Youth Offending Service, and also visited Hartlepool custody to gain an insight into the triage process which involves giving support to young people who have been arrested to try and ensure that they do not reoffend.
Barry Coppinger said: “I don’t think there are many adults within our community who would not admit to having done something foolish when they were younger, and it is important that as a society we recognise that young people do make mistakes and if it is a first time offence and they express regret we should give them the opportunity to make amends rather than putting them through the criminal justice system and thereby affecting their life chances.”
“Events such as 11 Million Takeover day give the majority of young people, who do contribute positively to society the opportunity to influence how we, as decision makers, influence the lives of children and young people within out communities.”
Roni Checksfield from Hartlepool Youth Offending Service added: “The triage programme has been very beneficial and given young people the opportunity to engage with services much earlier to address their current needs and any problems they may have. The programme has been designed to highlight all family issues and further referrals to suitable services are made to work with other family members as required.
Initially piloted in Hartlepool the success of the programme has enabled it now to be implemented Cleveland wide with all young people able to access the support.”
Posted on Friday 22nd November 2013