Crime Commissioner goes back to college.

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March 21, 2024

Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has spoken of her delight after joining the Bishop Auckland College Corporate Board.

Commissioner Allen will support the college’s work in developing a new generation of criminal justice workers and uniformed service professionals as well as facilitating a wide variety of volunteering, employment and training opportunities.

She has worked in partnership with the college since her election in 2021, speaking at crime prevention events alongside neighbourhood officers to increase engagement between the police and residents/students.

The PCC has also supported its efforts to promote volunteering and training opportunities in the criminal justice sector in line with her Police and Crime Plan priority.

At her latest visit to the college Ms Allen took part in a round table discussion with students and staff, which was arranged as part of National Colleges Week 2024.

The students, some of whom are studying Public Services and Criminology courses, heard the Commissioner explain why further education is vital in securing a vibrant workforce and economy. She told the group that colleges such as Bishop Auckland provide essential training, enabling the workforce of the future to secure appropriate qualifications for their chosen careers.

A huge champion of the further education sector, Ms Allen is herself a former college and university student. Hailing from Bishop Auckland, she has held a number of public sector roles in both local government and the emergency services.

Speaking of her appointment, Commissioner Allen said: “Further education is critical if we are to help our economy to grow. Young people need our support and guidance as they strive to become fully fledged members of the country’s workforce, contributing to future economic stability.

“That’s why I’m delighted to join the Bishop Auckland College Board. I have worked closely with college staff throughout my term and really value the support they have shown for my plans to make County Durham and Darlington safer, stronger and more resilient to crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.

“I look forward to supporting the college’s continued growth and development as it prepares the young people of this county for their future careers.”

The Commissioner fully supported the launch of a new degree course at Bishop Auckland College in 2022 designed to prepare students for careers in the criminal justice system.

The BA (Hons) Degree in Sociology and Criminology, validated by the Open University, is suitable for anyone considering roles including policing, probation services, youth work and rehabilitation. It followed the launch of a Level 3 in Criminology and Policing and covers modules including criminological theory, forensic psychology, social inequalities and social science research.

She also previously contributed matched funding to the college to undertake vulnerability testing of its IT systems and websites to determine its risk of a cyber attack in a joint project she delivers alongside the North East Business Resilience Centre (NEBRC). The programme brings together experts from policing, academic and the private sector to help educational institutions understand and respond to the threats of cybercrime.

The college’s Criminology and Public Services department also works closely with Durham Constabulary and other uniformed services as part of the curriculum, arranging a host of simulated training experiences to give students a taste of the real-life incidents that could attend while working in the emergency services.  

Principal and CEO Shaun Hope said: “We have a long, well-established relationship with the Commissioner that has brought huge benefits to our students, our staff and our community – as her recent visit to support National Colleges Week demonstrated.

“Upon my recent appointment, a key priority was to meet with the Commissioner and to carry on this great work, but with the PCC joining the College Corporation this already excellent relationship will go from strength to strength.”

Chairman of the College Corporation Patrick Lonergan added: “Commissioner Allen has been a major supporter of the college since her appointment as PCC, alongside colleagues in Durham Constabulary who regularly support our Public Services and Criminology provision.

“Joy brings significant public sector experience from local government and the emergency services to the College Corporation and a huge commitment to further education and we too are delighted she is joining the Board.”

Criminology and Uniformed Services students are pictured with (left to right) Principal/CEO Shaun Hope, PCC Strategic Partnerships Manager Nicola Appleby, HE and Criminology Course Co-ordinator Katy Dixon and Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen.

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