POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cleveland Steve Turner has donated more than £10,0000 to crime-busting charity Crimestoppers.
The cash comes from the PCC’s recently-launched Serious Violence Fund, which aims to prevent young people from becoming involved in serious and violent crime – or becoming victims of it.
The money will support work in Cleveland taking place as part of Crimestoppers’ regional Fearless campaign.
Fearless aims to appeal to young people, their teachers and other youth workers and encourage them to report crime and exploitation anonymously.
PCC funding of £10,071.60 will enable Crimestoppers to provide resource packs to all Cleveland secondary schools so young people have access to information on how and where they can report crime and exploitation.
In addition, Crimstoppers is running a six-week digital campaign across Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, focusing on different crimes each week.
Committed to cutting youth crime
Steve Turner, PCC for Cleveland, said: “I am committed to helping cut youth crime which is why I’ve given this crucial funding,
“As a result, Fearless – part of the charity Crimestoppers – will now be able to to provide all educational establishments for 11–16-year-olds with a pack of educational resources.
“The pack covers weapons crimes, child sexual exploitation (CSE,) County Lines and street crime, as well as containing a range of posters and a pack of Fearless playing cards.
“This will give teachers the tools and knowledge about crimes that typically affect young people more than adults and to enable them to discuss them in school.”
The campaign follows statistics, which reveal 46,000 children are thought to be involved in gangs with thousands being criminally and sexually exploited.
Additionally, nearly 20,000 children were cautioned or sentenced in England and Wales to the beginning of April last year.
While there are no solid statistics for the north east, anecdotal evidence suggests that there are potentially hundreds of hidden victims across the region.
Empowering young people to speak up against crime anonymously and without fear of retribution is at the heart of Fearless.org.
Young people are more likely to experience higher rates of crime and are far less likely to speak up about it.
Don’t want to be labelled a “grass”
There are many reasons for this: a young person may not realise something is criminal and wrong; they may not know who to trust; or they may not want to be labelled as a “grass.”
Ruth McNee, Crimestoppers’ Regional Manager for the North East, said: “My greatest fear is that the young people in our region just don’t know that the option of reporting anonymously is out there.
“They think that there is no way of them helping if they don’t want to talk to the police. Equally, we know that young people who commit crime from an early age are especially likely to become habitual offenders with depressingly long criminal careers
“Giving them the information necessary to avoid being exploited and led into a life of crime is key to prevent this happening.”
Brutally honest about crime
Fearless engages and helps inform young people about crime. It encourages them to talk honestly about their concerns.
In response, it offers brutally honest information about crime and its consequences. The charity wants to give young people the whole picture to enable them to make informed decisions.
In addition to funding from Cleveland PCC, the current campaign is supported by Durham County Council and housing association Karbon Homes.
If you’re a young person and know who is involved in exploiting young people or involved in other crime, you can tell Fearless what you know whilst staying 100% anonymously at Fearless.org.