Youth engagement initiative reduces crime logs
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A programme developed and delivered by our Hull Early Intervention Team, Wise Up, has so far had 31 kids aged between 12 and 16 complete it and stay away from criminal, anti-social or risky behaviour. The brains behind the programme, PCSO Allison Craker, identified a gap within how the force interacts with children at risk of becoming a perpetrator or victim of crime, which focusses on positive engagement and encouragement, rather than enforcement.
All of the children who have completed the programme live across Hull and may be referred by their school, the council, patrol officers or other partner agencies.
Some of the reasons they may be identified as someone who could benefit from attending the Wise Up initiative are; truancy at school, regular missing episodes, on the edge or have already been committing low level crime and anti-social behaviour, repeatedly being a victim of crime or people close to them having criminal backgrounds.
Whilst the statistics relate to all youths, the success of the courses that have run so far have contributed to missing episodes decreasing 47%, being a victim of crime going down 32%, crime logs involving young people reducing by 18% as well as investigations reducing by 35%. Earlier this year, the team were awarded extra funding to be able to continue and expand on the programme.
PCSO Allison Craker said: “Having worked with our city’s young people for a number of years within my role in the Hull Neighbourhood Team, it really made me think about how we as a force could support them to become more resilient, self-aware and positive active members of our communities.
“Some of our partner agencies such as Cornerhouse and Refresh were already delivering great initiatives to engage these kids, but as a team, we wanted to create something of our own that encouraged positive engagement with the police, to create a better sense of mutual respect.
“Wise Up is a six week programme which highlights a multitude of topics from health and relationships to crime intervention and career aspirations. The kids have to come as individuals and of their own accord, it’s not something that is forced upon them.
“Having a child walk through the door, without their friends, on a completely voluntary basis each week is a big achievement in itself. If they are making the effort to walk through our door, we will give them our time.
“It’s a truly judgement free space and by the end, we all feel like family.”
The six week course is held at Kingston Youth Centre on Beverley Road, providing a safe and central place for everyone to meet. It consists of one session each week covering a wide variety of topics designed to educate and inspire. The kids gain qualifications, build friendships, form connections with organisations, learn new skills and have a lot of fun doing it.
The weeks cover: sex education and online safety, crime intervention featuring campaigns such as No More Knives and Alfie’s Story, drug awareness, First Aid training focussed specifically on situations that could affect them, inspirational talks from local people and businesses who have achieved great things and come from similar backgrounds and creative team building activities.
Many of the participants have gone on to do Night Challenge, Duke of Edinburgh Award and volunteering such as planting trees with the PAT Foundation. Some have also joined the sea and army cadets.
PCSO Craker continues: “We feel very fortunate to have had these experiences with these kids and that the results have shown that an engagement-first approach does work to steer them away from risky situations.
“Whilst the pandemic has put a temporary pause on our ability to deliver the sessions, we do look forward to welcoming more young people to the youth centre when it’s safe to do so.”