Throughout October, Cumbria Constabulary are running Operation MOVIE, ‘shining a spotlight’ on the work they do around vulnerability. This Month of Vulnerability Initiatives and Education aims to provide the public access to the unseen policing that is undertaken every day to keep vulnerable people safe.
This week (5th -11th), the focus of the operation is on the Constabulary’s new Child Centred Policing (CCP) teams. These teams have been launched across the force to increase focus on the early identification of children who need support and intervention with a view to improving their lives and diverting them away from the criminal justice system.
During this week the public will be able to watch a ‘day in the life’ of a Child Centred Policing officer, as well as find lots of helpful advice and information on the Constabulary’s social media accounts.
The CCP teams were implemented by Inspector Gemma Hannah and Detective Inspector James Yallop, following extensive research into childhood offending and early intervention.
A child centred approach to policing aims to prevent any unnecessary criminalisation of children (persons under the age of 18) and prevent future offending.
CCP officers have been trained in specialist areas including, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care.
The Teams work closely with partner agencies, support services and charities who work with children and their families to provide help, engagement, and support.
During the month of Operation MOVIE, all of Cumbria Constabulary’s frontline officers will complete Adverse Childhood Experiences training; which will aim to enable officers to understand the effects that adverse childhood experiences such as domestic abuse, mental health, child exploitation, can have on a child, providing the force with the status of a Trauma Informed Organisation; an important milestone cementing the importance of this focus for the constabulary.
Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said:
“Bringing Child Centred Policing to our force is a positive change that we are all proud to support. Children, by their very nature, are vulnerable and we do not want to criminalise those that need our help.
“Extensive research has been undertaken which supports this way of working.
“The Child Centred Policing Inspectors and their teams have been working with partner agencies to make sure the right support is accessible for vulnerable children.
“We have implemented Child Centred Policing teams across Cumbria and are currently training every frontline officer in Adverse Childhood Experiences. We are fully committed to this change of focus which will further protect children across the county.”
Inspector Gemma Hannah, Child Centred Policing Lead, said:
“A child centre policing focus within the Constabulary is extremely important. Our ability to interact and engage with children can have a significant impact on a child’s life.
"Anyone under the age of 18 is a child and we must understand that their emotional and physical maturity is different from an adult; distress or trauma can manifest itself differently in a child’s behaviour.
“We want to understand why children may commit crime, ask them what is happening in their life and how can we help. This will include helping to support the whole family where appropriate. If we can identify underlying vulnerabilities and work with partners to provide the right support and intervention for children, then we have a real opportunity to improve the child’s life and divert them away from the criminal justice system.
“We recognise that every interaction we have with a child is a potential opportunity for intervention.
“We do not want to see children unnecessarily criminalised. The children of today represent our future society. The way in which we deliver our service to children now will make a difference and influence the confidence they have in us to feel safe and supported for generations to come.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said:
“Young people go through such dramatic changes during childhood and early adulthood, often negotiating challenges and barriers that can, if wrong decisions are taken, shape their behaviour and lead to criminal acts.
“Cumbria Constabulary’s Child Centred Policing team will provide vital support to young people and their families and carers as early as possible.
“This early intervention and prevention programme, working with vulnerable children, how police engage with young people, youth offending, criminalisation and prevention of harm is an excellent new resource for Cumbria.