Deputy PCC John Smith hosted virtual and socially distanced meetings as part of a Somerset focused community day.
The impact of county lines and the challenges of drug dealing across the county were illustrated to the Deputy PCC, with his first meeting taking place virtually with the Somerset Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
During the virtual meeting, the team – made up of the Deputy PCC, Public Health, NHS, police and other key partners – discussed issues facing local people, the impact of lockdown on young people in the community and how working together is essential to tackle serious violence in our communities.
Following this meeting, the Deputy PCC and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) team will continue to work with local partners to ensure that collaboration is taking place to create safer communities during the global pandemic.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with VRUs to find out how our investment into serious violence is making a real difference to young people in our communities.
“The team has had to go above and beyond to adapt in order to continue to keep our communities safe from violent crime in the midst of the global health pandemic.”Deputy PCC John Smith
The Deputy PCC then met virtually with Lisa from Escapeline, a team of social workers who specialise in child exploitation and protection and working with partners to protect children from criminal exploitation.
Finally, the Deputy PCC met with Craig and Julie from Youth Unlimited; set up in 2014, the Community Interest Company (CIC) deliver a range of professional youth work services across Sedgemoor, West Somerset and Taunton.
The Deputy PCC accompanied the team on a visit to two of their young leaders to deliver their well-earned uniform before they begin their roles supporting younger children in the community in the coming months.
“I am in awe of the fantastic work taking place. With limited resources and funding, organisations are still supporting vulnerable young people in need. As we continue to find our way through the global pandemic, I know that these charities and organisations will be absolutely necessary in supporting our young people into the ‘new normal’.”Deputy PCC John Smith
Following the community day, the Deputy PCC encouraged both Escapeline and Youth Unlimited to apply for funding from the Commissioners Community Action Fund (CCAF).
By listening to representatives from local organisations, the Deputy PCC can ensure that all voices are heard in both council and policing meetings in attempt to find better solutions to issues that are facing both local people, charities organisations during these challenging times.
Both Escapeline and Youth Unlimited have been awarded funding from the recent Home Office grant for microcharities in Avon and Somerset.