Here are some examples of how the Commissioner’s Fund is making a difference, funding local organisations and projects to improve communities and individual's lives.
Accessibility and Accountability
Neighbourhood policing in Stroud and Dursley will be enhanced by the provision of three electric cycles – two for Stroud and one for Dursley. PCs and PCSOs will be able to travel quickly and economically around the local area without the necessity of using a police vehicle.
Electric cycles are a well-established technology and with the introduction of lithium batteries they are suitable for use in large and hilly geographical areas like Stroud. Their use will raise the profile of the Neighbourhood Policing Team and maximise engagement opportunities across the district
The bikes have been funded by the PCC and the purchase meets many of the PCC’s priorities, primarily 'Accessibility and Accountability' and 'Safer Days and Nights for All'.
“The bikes can travel 40 miles before a re-charge is required so they are an efficient and eco-friendly way to patrol a large geographical area, ensuring that police staff remain a visible and reassuring presence in our communities and I hope they will make life a little easier for our PCSOs as they cycle around the hilly Stroud locality.” said Mr Surl.
The bikes, an A2B Hybrid 24 model, have been agreed as part of a pilot scheme to assess their value to the constabulary. They were purchased from eCycle UK (http://www.ecycleuk.com/index.html) based in John Street in Stroud who have the largest selection of electric bikes in Gloucestershire.
Older But Not Overlooked
New milestone reached as more businesses pledge to Keep Safe.
It started as a small group of 10 memory clubs in the Cotswolds. Now, ‘Keep Safe’ has 1,000 businesses signed up and its network reaches throughout the county.
They provide a safe haven for more than 6,000 of Gloucestershire’s most vulnerable people who carry the Keep Safe card.
The Cirencester branch of the Halifax today (5.3.15) became the 1000th signatory. Branch manager Robert Lewis said, “Halifax Bank are delighted to be supporting Keep Safe. All five branches in Gloucestershire have signed up because we want to support our communities we work and live in.
“If you know of any vulnerable people please get them to register in this very worthy scheme”.
‘Keep Safe’ was set up in 2010 as a partnership involving a number of bodies including Gloucestershire County Council, the Police and the NHS. In September 2013 The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Martin Surl, commissioned Memory Clubs UK – a community interest company – to develop and expand the scheme.
It is one of more than 100 schemes underwritten by the Commissioner’s Fund and now offers support to more than 6,000 registered members with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, autism and dementia across the county.
Keep Safe Director, Kelly Hennessey-Ford, said: "Our aim was to build and broaden the scheme and with the help of the Commissioner we continue to do that. Since he pledged his support, we have been able to recruit many of the big chain stores and high street names - the Halifax is the latest.
“They are all training their staff in adult awareness and their premises display the Keep Safe logo so that people who are vulnerable know that inside is a place where the people will keep them safe from harm and abuse”.
Mr. Surl said, “If we are to make Gloucestershire an even better place, we have to think of how we safeguard the most vulnerable members of society. Ultimately we’re trying to encourage stronger and more inclusive communities where everyone can feel safe and welcome.
“Keep Safe is an outstanding example of how community groups and organisations have embraced new opportunities offered through the police and crime plan”.
Anyone can register as a member of Keep Safe, which identifies safe places where help can be sought when required. Keep Safe users carry a card with their details and an emergency contact number which can be shown to specially-trained staff at shops and businesses displaying the Keep Safe logo.
If a member needs help while they are away from home they have only to look for the Keep Safe logo in the windows of shops and businesses that have signed up to the Scheme where staff are trained to come to their aid.
The Bereavement Club (now known as The Friendship Club), has given Jan a new lease of life.
Jan is age 71, Jan married Dave after her first marriage was dissolved due to domestic violence. Jan was very happy with Dave and they spent many hours together on shared hobbies. Dave had a stroke and he was put on medication, the medication Jan feels changed Dave’s personality. Dave attacked Jan while on holiday in Spain; Jan had to fly home alone.
Dave committed suicide a few weeks later and Jan came home and found him.
Jan blamed herself and lost all her self-worth, Jan who had always been active was now reclusive. Jan joined a bereavement group but after a few months the group was folding due to them not enjoying the environment.
Jan came to The Redwell to ask if we had any room for her little group, we welcomed the chance to help her. Jan has been coming with her group for the past 12 months and the group has grown into a lovely supportive group – one of the things they didn’t like from their first meeting place was that there was counsellors intruding on the group listening to what they had to say, we have left them to grow organically at their own speed.
Jan has gone through our Engage to change programme and now is very social again – and not only runs the Bereavement group (now called Friendship Group) but she comes into the Older persons ‘Meet and eat’ group and also volunteers at The Mother and Toddler Group. Jan loves to do media presentations now and is much happier and her life is more fulfilled. Jan says without The Redwell Centre she would still be lost and lonely.
Jan is a fantastic community member now and helps others in any way she can.
Young People Becoming Adults
Turning young people away from crime earns local police project top UK award.
It was set up with the aim of giving young people a purpose and steering them away from crime. Today, the Cheltenham based Aston Project is recognised as a leader in its field after winning a national award.
The Aston Project, which is run by Gloucestershire Police with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, was shortlisted by the Howard League for Penal Reform in its annual Community Programmes Awards and came first in the ‘Police led diversion – young people’ category.
The award was presented by HRH the Princess Royal at the Howard League’s annual conference in London. The Aston Project originally came into being under the concept of preventing and deterring anti-social behaviour among youths in St. Paul’s Cheltenham. It was re-named in September 2011 in memory of PC Lynn Aston, a committed and popular community officer who died of cancer that year - and in recognition of a much broader approach to youth engagement, not just targeting young offenders.
It offers local young people aged 9 to 17 the opportunity to earn time credits by getting involved in a range of activities (including community based, discipline based, character/team building and vocational). Once sufficient credits have been earned, the young person, guided by a member of the team, can choose to `spend’ their time credits on a desired award activity, often one that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to do.
The Aston Project continues to go from strength to strength and is working hard to increase its geographical coverage which now includes Cheltenham, Gloucester, Newent and Tewkesbury. This is a tribute to the continued support from PCC Martin Surl, the dedication of our team, our volunteers and the ongoing commitment from our members of our Stakeholder Group.
Intervention is key.
Clive is a 14 year old boy who was removed from his home by social care due to his mother being a drug addict and his father being in and out of prison for the last 20 years. His Mum split up with Clive's natural father and has a new partner who is also in prison for drug offences. The situation lent itself to Clive getting into trouble at school and out in the community where he would associate with other boys who would cause trouble at the local youth centre. Clive would also truant from school on a regular basis. Clive came to the attention of the local policing team on numerous occasions and was described as being 'out of control' due to his chaotic home life. The lack of parental supervision and his behaviour in the community made him vulnerable to being criminalised.
His school's Pastoral Care Officer felt that Clive needed urgent help, support and guidance before he found himself in trouble with the law and a possible criminal conviction. His schooling was also suffering due to his behaviour. His school were already aware of The Aston Project due to them having a high number of other pupils who are current members of the project in Gloucester and have witnessed extremely good results so far. Consequently they decided to refer Clive as well.
An Aston Gloucester Enabler visited Clive at his home address just prior to his move to his grandparents to discuss with Clive the issues and concerns that were happening in his life and the needs and support that can be put in place to enable him to turn his life around. Whilst talking to Clive, it was obvious that he was a damaged young man who had been severely affected by what he had suffered in the home environment with his Mum being a drug addict and his natural dad being in and out of prison. Clive came across during The Aston Project registration interview as very withdrawn, confused, upset and vulnerable.
Upon registration is was apparent that the best plan of action for Clive was to get him as active as possible on the Aston programme and involve him with group work and other members from his school, to keep him off the streets and enabling him to deal with his issues. During the 10 months that Clive has been with us he has attended countless community based and discipline-based activities via the Gloucester Aston Project team, earning a lot of credits and enjoying the associated awards.
It has taken a lot of work to bring Clive out of his shell and help him believe that there is another way to behave. He has gone from someone who would only utter one word under his breath and a total lack of confidence, to being one of the most keen young people we have had on the project so far. Clive has totally kept out of trouble, his school attendance is excellent and there have been no more Police incidents. Due to personal problems with his Grandparents, Clive has now been placed in foster care out of Gloucester and we are continuing to support him with this transition at this difficult stage of his life.
Clive now comes across as a confident and happy child, who enjoys all the things that The Aston Project has and will continue to offer him. Clive is now working hard to earn more credit for his next planned award. Clive thoroughly understands The Aston Project ethos of work for reward and that good behaviour and positive activity results in reward. Clive has accomplished many things during his continual involvement with The Aston Project Gloucester, including an accredited qualification in Indoor Climbing to NICAS Level 1.
The story of a 14 year old boy with an unsettled family life, who has developed self awareness and has stayed out of the Pupil Referral Unit.
A 14 year old boy at risk of exclusion from mainstream school was mentored by one of our youth workers. We set several SMART objectives to help him stay in school until the end of the academic year. His family life was extremely unsettling with domestic violence being a common theme. We managed to link his behaviour at school with drama in his family life and he would typically display aggression and have anger management issues. We discussed the issues and taught him some basic techniques to deal with his anger, such as breathing and self-awareness. He responded well to the support and our objective of keeping him in the school and out of the Pupil Referral Unit has so far been successful.
Fairshares has given Dan the ability to transform his life. From a disruptive young lad, to a flourishing man with a good future ahead.
Dan is a good case study for the work this quarter. Dan came to us through Gloucestershire College through the group project at the Dean Heritage Centre. Dan has a challenging family situation and has been involved with crime. He is currently on a curfew and is awaiting a court hearing. During one of the sessions at the Dean Heritage Centre, our project worker, Rich, took Dan to the side to have a chat and Dan opened up. It was obvious that one of the big things missing in Dan's life were role models. After that, Dan requested to continue with the Fairshares project during the summer and has been coming in three days a week. He was initially travelling from Tewkesbury but has since moved to Gloucester.
We worked closely with his development coach at college and everyone recognised that he was a young man who was desperately trying to change his situation, but needed support. Taking him out of his normal social group, being around positive role models and getting stuck into community activity where he has been given the opportunity to help others has made a big difference. His development coach commented on how even his physical appearance has improved drastically.
In particular Dan always had an interest in practical or mechanical work. Through Fairshares he has had the opportunity to learn and develop some of these skills, Rich, our project worker is a mechanic by trade and so has got Dan involved with repairing lawn mowers, fixing mobility scooters, simple welding... Rich also took Dan to his son's garage in Stroud where Rich showed Dan how to change a pollen filter and an air filter and let him get his hands dirty. Dan said 'This is something I've always wanted to do and nobody has ever given me the chance before'.
Dan is now back in college but still comes to Fairshares to help out on his day off.
'Mondays bring you to life, best day of the week'.
We have had a young chap who joined our programme having been referred by the Youth Support Team. He has been involved with a gang and had been used to hold drugs for a dealer and subsequently had been caught in possession. He has never worked and was on reparation. We put him into a 10 week work placement and have now offered him a permanent role working on our vans. He recently said 'Mondays bring you to life, best day of the week'.
Joe suffered from extreme anxiety due to bullying in school. After undertaking the LIFT programme at The National Star College, Joe is now an independent young man who is happy to venture out into the community.
Joe, 16 years, had been bullied and attacked at school, developed severe anxieties and by the middle of Year 10, had stopped going to school altogether and missed out on more than 1.5 years of education, with little prospect of getting into any further education, training or employment. Therefore, Joe was classified as NEET.
Joe has explained that when he was bullied, he did not fight back because he had told his Mum that 'he wouldn't ever fight like his Dad'. His Dad used to get into a lot of trouble with fighting and the Police, and had been in and out of prison over many years and although back with the family, the effects had clearly impacted on Joe.
Joe had developed severe anxieties and fears about being out in the community, particularly about meeting the bullies. He had slid into a routine of not going out, not going to school and was now entrenched in that routine, causing a cycle of increased anxieties and reduced activity. He was afraid of going on public transport, so when an opportunity arose for him to go to a training provider in a sports ground in Gloucester, he was unable to get there independently.
Following a referral from the Youth Support Service, LIFT offered a personalised and flexible 1:1 Travel Training programme and Joe tentatively agreed to 'give it a go'. Joe has now learnt bus routes, built his confidence and practical skills with travelling out in the community, and has learnt emergency strategies. He is now attending the training programme regularly which includes sports activities, vocational tasters, merchandising skills, functional and sales skills, and is geared towards increasing chances of future employment. Apart from the educational and employment aspect, Joe is rekindling his previous love of and involvement with football which he had given up because he couldn't go out or travel to his football club.
At the start of the travel training, Joe said he 'wants to build his confidence and that it will help his future, and help him to achieve'. This has certainly been the case, Joe is now able to travel more confidently and independently and despite his fears, knows he has robust practical strategies in place should there be any problems. Joe's Mum reported that since the training he had actually gone to the local shops for things to save her going, and whilst nearly in tears she said that she couldn't remember the last time he had done this as he had been too frightened to go out in the local neighbourhood.
Joe and his family know that LIFT will continue to monitor and review his progress and if it becomes necessary to do a 'top up session' then LIFT has the flexibility to do that, to ensure that the new independence gained remains sustainable.
Showing that support and guidance can help young people achieve.
Aaron was referred to HALT whilst not attending mainstream education due to high levels of anxiety and lacking the motivation to regularly attend.
He was referred to HALT from his previous school, having shown a real inability to concentrate and 'focus on any work, closing down and refusing to do anything. When challenged, he would be rude'. The school had previously tried setting up a work placement for Aaron to attend but he was reluctant to do it, and it fell through.
On The HALT Project, we saw a completely different personality. He was engaged and interested, keen to learn and be involved, and a very confident young man. Aaron often was very open in talking about how he struggled to make friends and would behave in a certain negative way to try and build friendships with people. The HALT Project allowed Aaron to build a genuine friendship, as he got along particularly well with one of the other attendees and he often said how nice it was to have made an 'actual friend' as they both shared the same interests in Animal Care. Aaron built up great trust with the rescue dog he was paired with, teaching her a range of new tricks such as sit, down, roll-over, stay and the agility course. He never became frustrated and remained calm and patient throughout, understanding completely the benefits of positive reinforcement. This gave him a fantastic confidence boost and he was evidently proud of his achievements and seeing his hard work pay off.
Overall, Aaron appeared to have a very positive experience at The HALT Project, with a good balance of education and learning, having fun and enjoying his time at the shelter as well as developing a good sense of responsibility and respect. Within The HALT Project, we include a visit off-site to Hartpury College, which proved to be of high value to Aaron, igniting an interest to study an Animal Care related course and offering a sense of direction career-wise.
It has since been reported that he is currently studying a certificate in Animal Care.
Proving to one suicidal young person that life has a lot more to offer.
I first met Terry at a Tier 2 Court Day in March 2016. He engaged very well with myself and was currently doing some work with The Aston Project. However, it was decided he could benefit from a mentor in light of his behaviour and conduct.
In late March 2016, there was an incident where unfortunately Terry tried to take his own life, with a noose tied to a tree near his house. Thankfully, his neighbour saw him and got him straight down and returned him home safely. Having heard this news I went straight to the family home to check upon his well-being, and support him. Terry was very unsettled at All Saints Academy. He had been suspended 23 times this school year, being bullied, stealing bikes, fighting to try to impress others was an everyday occurrence which made him very vulnerable. Police were being called constantly with reports of theft and he was causing concerns misbehaving and going missing for a few hours close to these events.
It was apparent that Terry was not happy. Being at All Saints was not working for him. I spoke to his Mum and Step-Dad over a couple of meetings and with some guidance from school, they applied for Terry to attend a Pupil Referral Unit named The Peak Academy. Mum advised that 'Peak' were not prepared to take him halfway through a school year, so they hoped for him to start in September 2016. It was concerning that Terry was so unhappy at school and having tried to take his own life, a start date of September 2016 was too far away. I went to The Peak Academy myself with the approval of Mum and PC Matt Bishop to see the head tutor. I explained in full the current situation and that I have been working with Terry. Thankfully, we (Great Expectations) have a good working relationship with the school and with a bit of persuading we managed to fast track Terry's start date within the following 2 weeks (April 2016). Terry was placed in weekly counselling for 6 months to support his problems and feelings.
I have included Terry in all activities on offer within our programme. He has interacted very well with others and has really matured well over the last six months of working with him. 1:1 mentoring with Terry I feel has helped the most. He has opened up about how he feels, why he gets so angry and how he deals with that now he has some guidance. Taking responsibility was a big thing for Terry. In the past 'it was always someone else's fault'. I believe reminding him, encouraging and complimenting him in activities and school about how good he is and can be, made him take responsibility and more pride within himself.
School and home life has really improved for Terry. He was a school captain for a term which really increased his confidence, and overall he has settled really well. I have made a referral into Families First as Terry unfortunately has had no bed having broken it. He has been sleeping on a mattress to which he also has sleep apnoea. With the help of the team and working closely with other agencies, funding has been secured and there is a bed ready.
Terry has had no suicidal thoughts or self-harm incidents since the event in March 2016 and has been signed off counselling late October 2016. I am supporting him and seeing him bi-weekly. His Mum and Step-Dad have been very complimentary about the work I have done with him and have always been transparent with us, which helps. He has all the potential to be anything he wants to be in life- his dream job is to be a mechanic or in the army. These are two areas I will support and signpost him to.
Safer Days And Nights For All
New card system to root out troublemakers in city centre.
Troublemakers are being warned: Misbehave in Gloucester and you’ll get a yellow card. Carry on and you’ll not only be kicked out of the city but you’ll probably face a ban as well.
The Yellow Card System is one of the measures being introduced to make Gloucester City Centre a better place to live, work and socialise.
'Safe days and nights for all' is one of Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl’s five priorities. To help implement the policy, he’s funding the new post of Gloucester City Safe Co-Ordinator whose job will be to link the police, city council, licensees, businesses and other organisations in a partnership approach to creating more peace and good order. The Citysafe Scheme will receive £59,930 over two years.
Gloucester Local Policing Area Chief Inspector Richard Burge said, “A lot of good work has already been done to improve both the day and night time economy in Gloucester. We want people to have a good experience when they come into the city, and for those who want to cause trouble to be aware of the consequences. They could be banned from shops, pubs and clubs in Gloucester for anti-social behaviour.”
The Gloucester City Safe Co-Ordinator’s job will be to make the city a safer place, day and night, by:
- reducing anti social behaviour
- reducing alcohol related crime and disorder, particularly relating to the night time economy
- reducing daytime crime, especially begging and shoplifting
- making everyone who works, lives or visits Gloucester feel safer
The priority is to make Gloucester a safer and more peaceful place to visit at night. The daytime environment will also be monitored along with schemes like Shopwatch, the early-warning system which targets shoplifters and other anti-social behaviour.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said the funding would add to the good work already underway:
“The majority of people want to enjoy our city centre and help the local economy but a small minority want to spoil it for everybody else. The message for people intent on causing trouble is that they will face the consequences if they misbehave”.
Safe And Social Driving
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl made 'Safe and Social Driving' one of his priorities to try and improve road safety in Gloucestershire and the way motorists behave towards one another.
Pathfinder is an offshoot of the Under 17 Car Club and is one of the projects he actively supports.
Pathfinder runs two week long courses in Gloucestershire every year in the Spring and Autumn for novice drivers who are too young to drive on the road but are usually planning to drive as soon as they are old enough to start lessons.
The most recent was at Throckmorton Airfield earlier this month.
See more here
From Sue, the mother of Liam a student on the course with the triple challenge of autism, aspergers and diabetes. Mum was very hesitant about bringing him but was persuaded. This is what she had to say:
“What an amazing week!
I am so proud of Liam, especially being ‘Student of the week’, which was so unexpected & something I would never have thought possible. He was fabulous & I really didn’t think we would have lasted the course.
Please pass on our thanks again to all of the team, because it wouldn’t have happened without the support of all of you being so patient with us, especially Liam. He grew in confidence and self esteem, realising that he can achieve these things and has now done something that his peer group at school have not done.
Many thanks again”
It is now estimated there are around 1,000 cyber-attacks on small businesses every hour, every day. That is why Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl and Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Richard Berry stepped- up the fight against cybercrime when they launched the country’s first Safer Cyber Forum at a business conference in Cheltenham.
Click here for video
As well as advising traders on how to stay safe on the internet, they updated business representatives on the progress the Constabulary is making to combat the threat.
‘Safer Cyber’ was added to the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan priorities in April 2014 following overwhelming support from the public who wanted more done to prevent things like internet fraud and online bullying.
Click here for message from the Police and Crime Commissioner
“The internet provides a wide range of opportunities but it also has a dark side which criminals have been quick to exploit. It has made people vulnerable both at home and at work. As a result, people have lost vast sums of money after being ripped-off by conmen and many young lives have been ruined on social media.
“I want us to be proactive in our approach to building a safer cyber environment for Gloucestershire and I believe the business community has a big part to play in developing partnerships that really do make a difference”.
ACC Berry said:
“Cybercrime is an issue we all have to face up to. It is a key priority within the UK’s Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) which means every police force, large or small, has to make a contribution.
“The Constabulary will launch our unique Safer Cyber Forum at the event and we will welcome the engagement and support of the business community to help protect each other as we go forwards. This will be the first of its kind in the UK.
“Gloucestershire Police must be able to contribute effectively to any form of cyber-attack on a national scale and to develop our own cybercrime capabilities beneath that level of threat”.
Cybercrime was one of the themes of the two-day Gloucestershire Business Show held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The Constabulary’s safer cyber co-ordinator and cybercrime harm reduction advisor are also taking part. There were workshops looking at business awareness of the risks around cyber security; practical housekeeping around business protection and the advice available to allow a business to stay up to date.
Click here for a reaction from business representatives at the conference.
Another session will explain the Constabulary’s aim to develop a multi-tiered cyber-security forum.
Click here for a personal story.