Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s latest initiative is breaking down barriers and building on the relationship between the police and people with learning difficulties.

The Commissioner’s Fund has formed a partnership with the Kingfisher Treasure Seekers Community Hub in Westgate Street, Gloucester.

In line with the Commissioner’s emphasis on supporting the young and previously overlooked, Kingfisher Treasure Seekers Ltd has been awarded a grant of £10,000 towards its youth club facility with the possibility of further grants over the following two years.

Kingfisher Treasure Seekers is a social enterprise organisation set up to enhance the lives of young people, some of whom are disadvantaged and vulnerable as well as others with learning difficulties and disabilities who feel marginalised and struggle with everyday life.

Mr Surl said,

“People with learning difficulties can be confused and anxious in the presence of authority, and it’s true that the police haven’t always understood or been able to handle people with issues around mental health. Bringing the two together gives them both a better understanding of their role and place in our community.”

To celebrate the new partnership and cement existing links with the Constabulary, members of Treasure Seekers have staged two musical shows at Police Headquarters at Waterwells. One, based on Britain’s Got Talent, was judged by the Chief Constable.

This is what some of them had to say afterwards:

Lisa said,

My dad said if I was naughty he’d call the Police on me. Now, I met them at Kingfishers and I was good with them”

Tanya said ,

“[Officers said] I was being manipulative, seeking attention and they arrested me and put me in the cells. They didn’t understand … people with learning difficulties. [Now] When I got lost …. Two police officers stayed with me, took me to Treasure Seekers and I danced with them on the stage. It was the best day of my life”

Leo said ,

“Being at the [Police] headquarters was quite something. It sort of made me feel like I was someone”

You can see more of what they had to say here

Katie Tucker, Business Director said,

 “We are grateful for the help and support of the Police and Crime Commissioner. We are currently based in and work with people in Gloucestershire and have the privilege of witnessing lives beings changed and transformed.”

Chief Supt Gary Thompson said,

“These events are great for building bridges which is why we’re planning to hold another show at Waterwells at Christmas time.

“We hope it won’t just be the learning disabled performers that come along, but also their family and friends – all of which falls under the Accountability & Accessibility strand of the PCC`s plan.”