Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
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PCC raises awareness of internet safety on Hertsmere District Day
Cyber bullying, grooming and the online risks to children and young people were the focus of discussion for professionals in Hertsmere attending an internet safety training day opened by Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd.
 
On Tuesday 21st June the Commissioner spent the day in the borough for this latest ‘district day’ – regular event drop in to one of the county’s ten districts and boroughs to focus on crime and community related issues.
 
The day’s events focused on Hertsmere Borough Council’s ‘Think U Know’ event – a day long summit uniting front line professionals working with children to discuss issues and risks surrounding e-safety. Think U Know provides resources, training and support to prevent the online abuse and exploitation of children and young people, brought together by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).  In attendance were representatives from Hertfordshire Constabulary, teachers, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue, carers, Hertsmere schools and family support workers, Hertfordshire Mind Network and other community groups, youth workers and child protection professionals.
 
They received advice about how to spot the warning signs of abuse, and on the best ways to support children and young people to stay safe from sexual abuse and exploitation whilst using the internet. This included how to help children develop their skills in identifying and avoiding risk, and in reporting abuse if they do encounter difficulties.

The afternoon saw a return to ‘Think U Know’ for further talks, workshops and a film screening in the afternoon – Murder Games: The Life and Death of Breck Bednar. The film follows Breck, a victim of online grooming tragically murdered ahead just 14. Workshops followed triggering lively discussion in new ways to educate young people around online safety.
 
Commissioner Lloyd said: “Cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crimes affect people every day - young and old alike. From email hacking and bank fraud to bullying, blackmail, harassment and stalking, the online tools we use every day can be manipulated to inflict abuse and harm on vulnerable people.
 
“Training sessions such as today’s ‘Think U Know’ remind me we all have a duty to keep ourselves, our families, our friends and colleagues safe when using the internet and help them to be aware of the risks, and develop the skills to protect themselves online.”
 
The Commissioner also met with Hertsmere Borough Council CEO Donald Graham, Cllr Pervez Choudhury, Community Safety Portfolio Holder and Community Safety Partnership Chief Inspector Steve O’Keefe to discuss crime and community issues affecting the borough. They talked about the possibility of the council supporting Employer Supported Policing, which helps employers put policy in place for employees who wish to undertake duties as a Special Constable. The great work of ‘Safer Streets’ – a project which offers free security checks and crime prevention advice to local residents will also continue, with a total of 3000 homes visited since its inception five years ago.
 
With this week a national celebration of Neighbourhood Watch (18th – 26th June) the Commissioner took the opportunity to get out and about on patrol in Potters Bar with PCSO Cheryll Lavell, accompanied by local District Co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Watch Richard Jarvis. With the a quarter of all Hertsmere households now signed up to the scheme, the Commissioner was keen to hear about their plans for uptake and ways he could support their future development.
 
The Commissioner added: “This was an excellent day and I am grateful to the council, particularly for hosting such a well-informed event on what is a very topical issue for education and front line professionals. Thank you to all involved for their time for yet another useful insight into policing and community safety in Hertsmere.”