PCC chief backs youth adviser roles

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Labour's Jane Kennedy won the PCC election

Labour’s Jane Kennedy won the PCC election

Merseyside police commissioner Jane Kennedy is pressing ahead with plans for youth advisers, despite the country’s first Youth Crime Commissioner being forced to resign earlier this week.

Paris Brown, 17, stepped down from her post in Kent following criticism of Twitter messages made when she was aged 14-16. She denied they were meant to be racist or homophobic.

Although Commissioner Kennedy is not planning to create a similar paid role for Merseyside, she still wants to create a network of advisors using the Youth Parliament in the five Liverpool boroughs in order to involve more young people in trying to identify the needs of their communities.

Five months into her role, the newly-elected commissioner told JMU Journalism: “Each borough will be asked to elect an advisor and they will explain the issues they feel need to be addressed in their communities, whilst I will continue to attend regular ‘have your say’ meetings with the police to give the public the chance to tell me what is going on.”

She is meeting groups over the next few weeks, so the process is still on track.

Having won the inaugural election in November with a 56% majority, Commissioner Kennedy has been working to set a budget for her time in office, whilst focussing on how to tackle gun crime in some areas of Liverpool and trying to forge a stronger relationship with the public.

Commissioner Kennedy said: “We passed the 100 day mark last month and I feel that the statutory aspects of the job have gone well and it has been a steep learning curve.

“We have worked out our budget for the next four years and I have reduced the costs of my own office to £800,000 to defend the budget from further cuts.”

Amongst the targets that Commissioner Kennedy has set, reducing gang crime in areas such as Bootle and Norris Green have been at the forefront, whilst seven shooting incidents in four months in Maghull have intensified the need to crack down on gun crime.

Commissioner Kennedy said: “Up until recently, the community in Maghull had no experience with shootings and have set lowering the number of shootings as a top priority.

“However, we have made some progress in Croxteth as it has been quieter there recently.

“However, the area is still a concern as there have been problems there before.”

About Scott Fitzpatrick, JMU Journalism