PCC’s new awards scheme gives youngsters a starring role in preventing crime.

January 26, 2023

A dynamic and interactive safety scheme giving pupils the chance to earn awards for completing crime prevention awareness activities has been unveiled by Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen.

The County Durham and Darlington PCC has invited more than 140 school pupils from five primary schools across Ferryhill to take part in the Commissioner’s Challenge initiative – a multi-stage crime prevention awareness programme enabling them to secure bronze, silver and gold awards.

Championed by young mentors from Ferryhill School, the scheme has been separated into three key themes: Keeping Our Family, Friends and Neighbours Safe, Keeping Our Streets Safe and Keeping Ourselves Safe.

It engages youngsters in activities such as litter picking, safe road practices and property marking with UV marker pens to earn themselves badges recognising their achievements.

Pupils from Ferryhill School will act as mentors to the younger Ambassadors.

Developed by community organisation Approach Too in conjunction with the PCC, it follows the highly successful ‘Commissioner’s Ambassadors for Community Change’ scheme launched by the Commissioner in Ferryhill last year.

The Ambassadors, who attend schools across Ferryhill and have been working with neighbourhood teams, councillors, the PCC and MPs to address safety concerns and completed a major youth survey which helped to pinpoint gaps in safety knowledge among young people.

The Commissioner’s Challenge is aimed at covering these important areas to help build resilience within the community and prevent future harm.

Commissioner Allen said: “This is a really exciting project for Ferryhill which has been designed by young people for young people to ensure school pupils are equipped with the knowledge they need to make safe choices both now and in the future.

“I am so proud of the Ambassadors and all the children taking part in the Commissioner’s Challenge. This is a great way to educate young people about crime prevention, road safety and so much more, whilst making it fun and rewarding. I hope that this programme can be replicated across the length and breadth of the force area to ensure that our young people are valued citizens and included when building a community that is more resilient to crime.

“We regularly engage with our community and this feedback is the foundation of my Police and Crime Plan. The crime survey carried out by the Ambassadors was the first step in giving us a great understanding of the issues that are important to young people and what more we need to do to help young people feel safe, not only in Ferryhill but across the whole of County Durham and Darlington.”

Approach Too manager Glenys Newby added: “We are blown away by how well the Ambassadors for Community Change have done with their project. It’s been a year in the making!

“From all the data they collected around people’s views and experiences of crime, through to the work they have done to try and make their community safer, they have shared all the results of their crime survey with people who can help make positive change, such as Paul Howell MP, councillors, the 4 Together Area Action Partnership and the Police.

“However, it was Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen who really got behind the work of the Ambassadors and supported them in taking it one step further to create their own Commissioner’s Challenge to help keep their family, friends and neighbours safe.”

The artwork for the project was designed by local children’s book illustrator Stuart Trotter, who is the current Rupert the Bear illustrator. The Ambassadors worked with Stuart to bring their ideas to life.

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