Growing up, I always had an interest in policing and the Criminal Justice System.
I was always watching the likes of The Bill and NCIS, fascinated by the storylines and drama. As I progressed through education and employment, my knowledge around the real world Criminal Justice System grew, and I knew this was where I wanted to try and make a difference.
I have had some great opportunities through employment and volunteering over the last few years, from working within one of our local prisons, to playing a part in supporting people on probation with their accommodation and finances, and supporting people through restorative justice. The majority of the time, helping people on the wrong side of the law.
Now, as the Engagement and Consultation Officer for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) I feel like I am over the other side. My job is to engage with as many people, groups, and organisations across South Yorkshire as possible, and listen to their views on policing, crime, and anti-social behaviour. I then feed this back in any way I can to ensure that these voices are heard.
I also get the opportunity to work closely with our neighbourhood policing teams to understand their work and focuses within specific local areas. I have been in post just over a year now, and one thing that continues to amaze me is how many fantastic organisations are out there providing support.
The PCC’s community grants scheme, Giving Back, is currently open until September, and I would strongly encourage anyone working within organisations in South Yorkshire to take a look and apply where suitable. This money can really make a difference when it comes to projects that organisations are keen to move forward in a bid to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. More information can be found here – https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-we-do/grants
I also have the pleasure of working closely with colleagues in the VRU, often working in partnership together at engagement events, hosting stalls to share and promote our work. Having one of the 20 Violence Reduction Units within the country in South Yorkshire allows us to provide enhanced support to communities, and shows that the issues we have here are taken seriously.
An example of this would be some of the most recent work in Rotherham, with two-way radios distributed to licensed premises, to allow venues to stay in contact with each other, improving safety and co-ordination in the Evening and Night-Time Economy. This will support a cohesive approach, ensuring that issues can be dealt with as soon as they arise.
Ultimately, I think what’s most important for me is the fact that we are all working towards the same goal; we all want our communities to feel and be safer, and by supporting one another through partnership working, we have a real opportunity to do this.