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Commissioner Visits Kings Academy


Picture courtesy of French & Lamming Media

Students have been put on the straight and narrow regarding the role of Police and Crime Commissioners during a visit by Cleveland's PCC Barry Coppinger.

Sixth formers studying A level politics and other students with an interest in current affairs heard Mr Coppinger share his views on a range of subjects, including tolerance of young people, during a visit to The King's Academy, in Coulby Newham.

"I was impressed the first time I came to The King's Academy by the tremendous facilities and it's even more impressive to come into the lecture theatre. You are being well prepared for university life if that's where you choose to go in the future, " he said.

When asked what drove him to put himself forward for the role Mr Coppinger said: "For me, it's public service, not self service. I ask myself 'can I do some good, can I offer assistance?'”

He encouraged students to get involved by visiting the next Criminal Justice Volunteers Fair, to be held at Teesside University on 4th November, or by joining the Cleveland Police Cadets.

He also said he was interested to hear their views on stop and search and on how the police engage with young people.

Comparing the 87 per cent turnout in the Scottish referendum with the 15 per cent turnout in the PCC election two years ago, student Ben Rowden asked what could be done to encourage more people to vote and what was the future for PCCs.

Mr Coppinger said: "At the time there was a very low level of awareness and it was difficult to get people enthused. I think there needs to be accountability for public services and it's important that the police are accountable. Whatever happens in the future we will have to have some kind of person who takes responsibility for the police and represents the public."

Ben, former member of the Youth Parliament for Middlesbrough, also asked for Mr Coppinger's view on a recent evening curfew against young people at the Parkway Centre, in Coulby Newham.

"Anti-social behaviour isn't just a problem for the police. It's about young people having facilities and opportunities for getting involved and taking part in things so they can use their time productively and develop their thinking and experiences,” said the PCC.

"Curfews tend to be a last resort. In that sense they're a failing, but are sometimes necessary. I also recognise that anti-social behaviour isn't always about young people; it cuts across all age groups. Young people are often the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.

"They tend to gather near shopping centres because they are well lit, safe places to be. I don't view young people as a threat in those circumstances, but there is a lot of intolerance of them and that's regrettable. The vast majority of young people are doing very well and setting a good example about tolerance which older people could learn from."

He said education also had a critical role in developing and shaping young people as the citizens of the future.


Posted on Friday 26th September 2014
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