It was great to hold the first expert commissioner group meeting for the Commission on Young Lives on 14th October. There was a great range of experience in the room (virtually of course!) and a real determination to take on the issues facing young people. It is clear that this group is very much about action and will not be simply more well-meaning discussion. As with many issues with which I have involvement, we do not need yet more analysis and description of the problem, we need to be identifying and implementing solutions that will make a difference.
Throughout my career the issue of young people being drawn into criminality, whether as victims, offenders or often both at different times, has been a prominent and depressing feature. This represents not only a pattern of harm that ripples out and affects individuals, families, friendship groups and also communities, but it is also a shocking waste of potential. That is why I was very keen to do whatever I can to support the work of the Commission.
The centre piece of our first meeting was a presentation by Niven Rennie, the Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. I know Niven and I am very familiar with the work that has been done in Scotland. Indeed, in my former role in the Metropolitan Police Service in London we applied many of the lessons that had been learnt and adapted them to our specific context in the Capital.
The key lessons for me are that success can only be achieved by genuine and committed collaboration between all of the bodies - statutory, private, third sector - working to a clear and outcomes focused plan. It is also clear to me that this works with sustained and targeted local activity on the ground. The genuine cultural competence that is needed to gain trust and confidence of the young people comes from working at that very local level.
I am very excited to be part of the Commission's work and the next year needs to see a willingness to find different and deliverable solutions, and a speed of action to create momentum. I look forward to challenging ourselves to achieve that.
Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council