Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Citizens' Academy pilot launches to audience of young people
Dacorum Council has joined Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dacorum Community Safety Partnership and Spectrum Drug and Alcohol services to launch the first Citizens’ Academy at three schools in the Borough.
 
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, initiated the Citizens’ Academy project as part of his 2013-2018 Police and Crime Plan ‘Everybody’s Business’. 
 
The aim of the Citizens’ Academy is to involve people across all ages and backgrounds to interact with the police and become active ‘crime prevention partners’, equipping them with the resilience and skills to keep themselves and their communities safe. 
 
Dacorum Council recognised that the Citizens’ Academy initiative could be linked to the existing Youth Forum to provide young people with knowledge about crime and substance misuse.
 
The Council has run its Youth Forum programme for many years for young people to get involved with council activities and share knowledge of the democratic process.
 
The Youth Forum expressed their interest for a better relationship between young people and the police in Dacorum, giving rise to a trial of a Citizens’ Academy with local schools.
 
Commissioner Lloyd said: "I am delighted to support the first Citizens’ Academy pilot in Dacorum and I hope that the young people involved will find it engaging and helpful.
 
"They get to meet police officers face-to-face and discuss issues around drugs, vandalism and violence that they face in the real world so that they can make level-headed decisions about their actions or lifestyle.
 
"Ideally, we will raise levels of awareness and understanding to the extent that the young people want to become ‘active citizens’, involved in crime fighting – perhaps as a member of Neighbourhood Watch or joining the police cadets. 
 
"Eventually, once they turn 18, even become a special constable or regular police officer."
 
Dave Moore, Community Safety Partnership at Dacorum Borough Council commented: "The Dacorum CSP is keen to support the Citizens’ Academy initiative so that young people in Dacorum get to know the facts from experts about the realities of drugs, alcohol and crime and the negative impact it can have on lives."
 
The one day course will be run at Kings Langley, Cavendish and Hemel Hempstead schools, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
 
The course will be taught to students aged 15-17 from the volunteer schools, covering three main areas: Substance Misuse, Violent Crime and Criminal Damage.
 
Mrs Pauline Whitbread, Head of Year 10 at Kings Langley School, said: "We signed up to this programme to support PSHE and also help young people understand the role of the police in preventing and tackling crime.
 
"Some of our students would like to join the police force and this programme will give them an insight into what a career in the police entails."
 
This innovative programme will not only provide young people with awareness about drugs, alcohol and crime, it will also help them make informed choices, helping them to stay safe as they live and grow up in Dacorum.
 
Commissioner David Lloyd is also promoting Citizens’ Academy pilots in Broxbourne and Welwyn Hatfield aimed at adults and elderly people with targeted support and training to suit their specific needs. 
 
Again, the ultimate aim is to give people the assistance and information they need to become ‘active citizens’ who can keep themselves and their communities safe.
 
You can contact Commissioner Lloyd’s office by email:  commissioner@herts.pnn.police.uk or by phone: 01707 806100 or by post: Harpenden Police Station, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 4GZ. 
 
You can follow the Commissioner on Twitter @HertsPCC and find out more on his Facebook page: HertsPCC.