Commissioner gets e-safety savvy thanks to Welwyn children
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd got a lesson in the merits of online safety during a recent visit to meet with pupils from the WGC Children’s Centre Group. The Commissioner met with pupils from Ludwick Nursery to find out more about the nursery’s recently launched e-safety sessions, which educate the parents and guardians of young people about potential risks in online activity and using devices securely from a young age.

E-safety awareness remains a key area of focus on the Welwyn Garden Nursery Group, who provided an e-Safety session for parents funded by the Community Safety Partnership. Children at the school were on hand to show the Commissioner their understanding of safe ways of using devices and staying safe online.

The visit formed just one of a host of meetings with organisations and projects on Monday (February 8th) that support or protect vulnerable people in Welwyn Hatfield as part of the regular ‘district days’ where the Commissioner focuses on the crime and community safety-related issues affecting one of the county’s 10 districts and boroughs.

The morning began with a tour of the newly-opened YMCA space at Peartree, to see the facilities available at the centre and find out about the essential services it provides to deterring anti-social behaviour and keeping the community and vulnerable younger people safe. After a brief networking lunch, a presentation on local initiatives and multi-agency work came in the form of the Hoarding Partnership Protocol, a joint venture between Environmental Health, Community Housing Trust and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue services.

With an estimated 1.5 per cent of the overall population suggested to suffer from a hoarding issue, the new venture provides a single united approach for dealing with hoarders in Hertfordshire in a practical yet emotionally sensitive and compassionate manner. The presentation discussed the wider implications of domestic hoarding on not only the individual concerned, but surrounding neighbours, local community and also the safety risk to services accessing properties to provide front line support. Initial progress of the scheme, with approximately 24 active cases in the county is now looking for further funding to support the delivery of the pilot in the district.

Commissioner Lloyd said: “The united approach created from this multiagency partnership forms a common approach to supporting those suffering with hoarding issues in the county from first point of contact, access to the property, and on-going long term physical and emotional support to the individual concerned. From immediate physical hazards within the home, to lifestyle effects on health and nutrition and physiological in terms of social isolation, the effects are broad. 

“Doing nothing is not an option – I am pleased to see this initiative support my vision of grouped public sector services creating a unified voice in supporting hoarders and providing the long term support they need to cope. There are often wider issues also in play and this cross platform approach means whichever way these cases come to light, they will have access to the same support, a long term support mechanism that will help get their life back on track.”

Councillor Bernard Sarson, the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Executive Member for Business and Partnerships, joined the Commissioner for the district day, as well as the borough’s Community Safety Manager Matt Rayner and Community Safety Partnerships Co-ordinator Chrystalla Karvella.

The afternoon saw representatives from the Community Safety Partnership, Trading Standards, Licensing and Policing come together for the launch of ‘Salewatch’ a new scheme which aims to raise awareness of age-restricted retail sales. The campaign, which will predominantly run online will target younger people and their families and also engage directly with local retailers to remind them of legislation requirements and the consequences of breaking them, with a wider view of keeping young people safe.

With this audience in mind the launch has been led predominantly online via social media, with printed flyers available at youth centres and community locations around Welwyn Hatfield. The campaign’s Town Centre Team will also approach retailers in the local area such as off license shops, corner shops, CO-OP and others to give out a consistent message and work with the bigger retailers in the district.