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‘We can’t let the North East become the worst hit region for youth unemployment, and urgent action is needed’, warns Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

Her calls for action follow recent predictions from the IPPR that the unemployment of young people in the UK is set to become the highest on record.

Their research suggests that without further government action there will be an extra 620,000 young UK citizens unemployed by the end of the year.

Citing this research the Commissioner said that tackling youth unemployment not only needs to be at the centre of our regional recovery plans, but there also needs to be a complete overhaul of how we support our young people into employment, and that needs to come from the top.

She has urged the Government to make youth employment a priority in the upcoming spending review.

Kim McGuinness, said:  “I am more worried than ever for our young people.  Youth unemployment is set to go through the roof. We can’t let the long-term impacts of this virus be underestimated. We can’t see these headlines that youth employment could rise to two million, and do nothing about it. Some regions are going to be hit harder than others. It’s not an even playing field and I for one don’t want the North East to get the ‘worst in the country’ label.

“Let’s face it, a lot of the jobs filled by young people in our bars, our gyms, our shops – they were the first to disappear in lockdown and they’re the last to come back, and that’s if workers are coming back from being furloughed at all.”

Last year the Commissioner set up a Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit setting out plans across the region to improve lives and prevent crime. In recent months the unit has been working with local organisations such as Movement to Work and the Newcastle United Foundation, trying to increase work experience opportunities and develop the skills that can get young people into work.

“We all know that unemployment goes hand in hand with high crime rates.” Kim said. “That’s why we’re doing everything possible to support young people and ensure they have opportunities right here on our doorstep, but the Government needs to act fast and address the bigger picture.”

According to the Youth Voices Census Report 2020, young people who had experience of being NEET, not in Education, Employment or Training, highlighted lack of work experience and anxiety as being the top two barriers to getting a job, and these views were captured largely before Covid-19 struck.

Kim added: “I’m proud of many of the young people in our region who have had to adapt to big changes and disruption overnight. School have been closed, exams cancelled, and they’ve also had lots of their independence and face-to-face support networks stripped right back.  So we need to ask – is the Government meeting the needs of young people right now, are there enough local opportunities and are we looking ahead to their futures?”

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Chief Constable Winton Keenen along with Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness last week welcomed 52 student officers into the Force.

Their arrival means a total of 217 new recruits have joined since lockdown was announced on March 23, as part of the Force’s ongoing recruitment campaign to increase the number of officers across the area.

Due to Coronavirus, special measures have been put in place to allow training to go-ahead, with an increased emphasis on digital and virtual learning.

Chief Constable Keenen said: “These new officers are needed now more than ever, to support the vital services we provide to the communities we are proud and privileged to serve.

“We set out to recruit exceptional people from all communities, who will bring a range of experiences and who are determined to make a real difference.

“In doing so, we want to make Northumbria Police more representative of our wonderfully diverse communities here in the North East so that we can continue to serve their needs as best as possible.

“I wish all of our recruits every success with their training and for the future.”

The latest recruits have joined the Graduate Initial Police Learning & Development Programme (G-IPLDP).

This is a bespoke two-year programme, open to student officers who already hold a degree and will be focusing their development in an investigative role whilst working towards the Level 3 Policing Diploma.

It is the first G-IPLDP programme Northumbria Police have delivered.

Commissioner Kim McGuinnes said: “Our police officer numbers are growing and growing and the more we have in their uniforms out on our streets, the better. This is what people want to see, especially when the Force has been hit hard by a decade of austerity. We are doing everything in our power to invest and build the force back up – to make people feel safe and keep crime down.

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the latest round of new recruits. They were a really pleasant bunch, committed to their new role and from all walks of life. All were really itching to get started. I’m grateful to each of them for signing up to be a police officer, especially in these challenging times, and I look forward to meeting them again as they progress their careers with us.”

Keep an eye on our Northumbria Police’s LinkedIn page for more information on recruitment.

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Domestic abuse victims are most likely to call on friends and family for help, says new survey

VICTIMS of domestic abuse are most likely to confide in friends first not the police, so it’s vital the friends know where to get help from, says Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

According to a recent anonymous survivor survey carried out by Wearside Women in Need (WWIN), 37 per cent of victims disclosed to a friend first and 25 per cent told a family member to begin with. 11 per cent contacted the police in the first instance.

The survey helped inform a recent campaign devised by the Police and Crime Commissioner with the support of specialist services across the region. The idea behind the campaign was to reach out to those concerned about loved ones and to provide advice and contact information that can be passed on.

The campaign has built on the idea that domestic abuse is everyone’s business and that we all have a role to play in taking our concerns seriously and not making excuses for unacceptable behaviour such as blaming stress or alcohol for causing violence and abuse.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “It’s such a big step finding the courage to open up about being abused. So whoever a victim chooses to confide in, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we seize that moment, especially right now with more victims being allowed out of the house as they’re perhaps doing the school run or returning to work. Whoever they tell needs to know where to turn for specialist support.

“Almost two-thirds of people reach out to friends and family first – it’s these people who need to have information on what to do. They have a vital role to play in bridging the gap to specialist services. That’s why last month we launched a campaign which set out how we can all help those suffering domestic abuse. We’re not asking the general public to be experts here, of course not, but these people are the gate keepers. Their response is very important and can guide a victim to the right services and change their life for the better.”

She added: “We have specialist officers trained in domestic abuse who are great too, but what I’m saying here is that if someone isn’t comfortable with the idea of going to the police we get that, we really do, but there are other ways. We just want support to get to those who need it as quickly and as easily as possible, however that may be.”

Becky Rogerson MBE, Director at Wearside Women in Need, said: “This campaign acknowledges the important role that family, friends and work colleagues play in supporting people in abusive relationships; they are frequently the first people who spot the signs, receive the disclosure and have the opportunity to seek help. We want to ensure everyone knows what to do, who to call and how to make a difference. At least 2 women a week lose their lives to violent partners – we can all make a difference to that shocking statistic if we ‘Ask and Act’, our services are open and can help you”.

The VAWG survey, produced by WWIN outlines many of the ways in which the pandemic reinforces inequality and increases the incidents of domestic abuse and the impact on victims.

For campaign information and a list of support services visit here.

In an emergency, always call 999. If you dial 999 and are unable to speak, the emergency operator will ask you to dial 55 and to follow their instruction to quickly put you in touch with police.

ENDS

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