PCC brings early intervention and prevention under partnership spotlight (15 Nov 2018)

4A major partnership conference to help divert young people away from harm and potential criminal behaviour is set to get underway later this morning (15/11)

Dozens of third sector organisations and groups, which are not connected to Government or profit making, will come together at Leeds Civic Hall.

They will discuss the important role they each play in the joint effort to keep West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe, which will include best practice, learning and new ways forward.

The themes being discussed will include drugs and alcohol, mental health, adverse childhood experiences, multiple and complex needs, as well as domestic and sexual abuse.

It sees key speakers ranging from the Police and Youth Offending Teams to Safer Communities Partnerships, local projects and third sector advisory groups.

You can follow the conference on Twitter using #3rdSecConf18.

24West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson will be opening the event and said:

"The continuing austerity and funding challenges across public sector organisations is translating to further pressures upon third sector groups, who are increasingly left to fill the gaps.

"Having co-ordinated some bids to Government, my office has recently been successful in achieving over £1m from the Early Intervention Youth Fund for a number of West Yorkshire projects, but this is just the tip of the iceberg and much more must still be done.

"We must recognise the impact that austerity is having on our collective ability to support young people and the consequences that this is having on society generally.

"Working together and forging a collective approach with early intervention and prevention at its core is therefore crucial to providing services that truly deliver better medium and long term community safety outcomes.

"This conference is designed to do exactly that, helping us to further develop relationships and interactions among partners that will genuinely help change lives.

"There is clear evidence to support the work on early intervention, but it must be a sustained and prolonged effort across the board if we are to ensure a positive change for our communities preventing young people from becoming involved or exploited to crimes.

"The inputs from experts in their field aside of local case studies, will highlight just how we can all make a difference if we work in unison to find workable solutions.

"We cannot afford to ignore the challenges that so many of our young people face and doing so can potentially lead to damaging repercussions linked to crime, poor mental health and many other negative social aspects with our communities."

14Team Leader, James McCord of The Basement Project is speaking about his own personal experiences, as part of the day:

"I was a happy go lucky lad before I started to use heroin and crack, now I was tied to a chemist every day and was living in social isolation due to my mental health.

"When I returned from detox I started the abstinence programme. I never missed a session. I learned so much about addiction and why I could never stop and stay stopped before.

"I also attended "Here & Now" and Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the evening, meeting people who were also in recovery.

"Some people say The Basement Recovery Programme (TBRP) saved their lives and I know this to be true. I don't know if TBRP saved my life, but it has definitely given me my life back!"

Click here to view a full case study from James

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable, Catherine Hankinson is also one of the key speakers and added:

"The 'third sector' conference hosted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will bring together relevant partners in order to focus on early intervention and prevention.

"Our Force vision in conjunction with the Police and Crime Commissioner, is to work with our partners to reduce risk and harm, to support vulnerable individuals and their families at the earliest opportunity, and make our communities safer.

"West Yorkshire Police understands that through the effective delivery of Early Intervention, we will be able to provide help and support to vulnerable people within our communities. By addressing problems at the earliest opportunity we can protect people from harm, prevent crime and antisocial behaviour and reduce demand on our services."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019