Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Kids Count
Youth justice is changing– everything is.

Every bit of the criminal justice system – and of public service – is shifting to meet the challenges of the times. All the moving parts are in motion at the same time and (as if life weren’t complicated enough) new things are springing up at the same time. Things like Police and Crime Commissioners…

It is right that we’re making changes – I am hungry for change.  After all, if we stick with the same system, we will get the same old results. And if we want to do something about it we need to get right things right upstream - with great services for all kids, great services to keep those at risk on the right path and great services for when things have gone wrong.

I shared a stage with Kids Count (a great local charity with a big national reach) this week and talked about my ambitions for youth justice.

I’ve been saying since the turn of the year that Police and Crime Commissioners would be better placed to manage youth justice services. So much of the delivery is local – shouldn’t the leadership be localised as well? As it stands things are currently overseen, far from the action, by the central Youth Justice Board, pretty much divorced from local accountability. With the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners we have a new opportunity to cut through the bureaucracy and put the public in the driving seat.

I am starting to commission services directly including youth crime prevention work and I will be making wider strategic funding decisions in the coming months. For instance, I was pleased to be able to launch a range of new youth projects under my Community Fund, last week. I think there’s a bigger opportunity here too.

My strategy on youth justice isn’t about empire building. Far from it.  I think Police and Crime Commissioners can add to - and better draw together - the local partnership work that is vital in preventing youth crime. These local links are what is needed to connect young people in trouble with the law to the services and the support networks that can set them straight.

Across service boundaries, we are working with the same communities, with the same victims and with the same offenders. We are trying to tackle the same causes and to manage the same effects. The public - be they young or old - gets bad value from disjointed public services.  I think we have an opportunity to do something about it.