Members of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s ground-breaking Youth and Elders’ Commissions have been honoured at a celebratory event to thank them for their outstanding contributions.
Sussex PCC Katy Bourne welcomed representatives from both voluntary bodies last month to show her appreciation for their work over the past few years.
She said: “When they were established, my ambition for the Youth and Elders’ Commissions was to capture the thoughts and concerns about policing and crime from older and younger Sussex residents in order to inform my Police and Crime Plan.
“However, their award-winning work and the impact they have had on policing, both nationally and locally, has surpassed anything we expected when they were originally set up.
“This was achieved through their engagement with literally thousands of people across our county and their resulting input has influenced the way that Sussex Police engages with both age groups. They have also directly influenced policing nationally.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the hard work by the members of each commission as well as all those who took part in numerous consultation events, including the Elders’ Commission’s Big Conversation.”
During 2015/16, the 30 members of the Elders’ Commission held their Big Conversation and conducted more than 1,500 interviews with family, friends and peers to hear older residents’ ideas and concerns about policing, crime and community safety.
A full report containing their recommendations was delivered in Parliament in March 2016 and included potential solutions to address issues such as nuisance calls and scams, financial abuse and coercion and older people’s fear of crime.
In March 2017, the PCC held a crime summit in Brighton to clamp down on elder exploitation as a result of the Elders’ Commission’s findings that financial coercion was under-reported.
Their work followed in the footsteps of the Sussex Youth Commission who held 4,000 conversations with young people over two years which led to a series of recommendations for Sussex Police.
As a result of the commission’s valuable insight, Sussex Police is now committed to child-centred policing and has appointed 90 youth ambassadors across the force.
Police staff and officers of all levels and ranks are proactively striving to make the force better for young people and Sussex Police has developed a Children & Young People Action Plan to improve the confidence that children and young people have in the police, to keep them safe from harm and ensure they feel supported and engaged for generations to come.
Mrs Bourne added: “I am extremely proud of the work that both Commissions have achieved. I now need to allow some time for the findings, recommendations and initiatives to be implemented so that this important work may be fully realised.”