The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson has welcomed in part today’s State of Policing report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and is calling on the government to listen and invest in services to ensure that the police aren’t left to pick up the pieces when other areas are underfunded, such as education and mental health.

The PCC has been calling for tough action on school exclusions for some time. As a former head teacher, the PCC knows the impact that being excluded from school, without proper alternative provision can have on the life chances of young people and the potential risk of them being drawn into crime.

The HMICFRS report also notes that gaps in youth provision can have in making it difficult to divert young people away from crime as well as the knock on effect that the lack of investment in other public services has on the demand for policing.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, in response to the report said:

“I welcome today’s report from HMICFRS. It supports what I have been saying for sometime now that the work of the police is being impacted by the lack of investment in our public services such as youth provision, mental health services and education.

“If we want to ensure that the young generation are not becoming involved in criminality and are able to succeed we need to firstly be able to give them opportunities to thrive.

“Cuts to youth services has meant that young people are finding themselves on the streets with less to do, which can easily lead to becoming involved in criminality.

“This report calls for focus and action on school exclusions, which I have been campaigning on for some time. Young people are often given up on when they are excluded and are left without proper alternative provision which allows them to become prey to criminals and county lines drugs gangs.

“The government need to listen to this report, fully implement the Timpson Review and make sure that our public services are in a position to divert young people away from crime.

“We also need to ensure that the we put young people at the centre of the recovery from COVID-19. With a jobs guarantee scheme and supporting apprenticeships and training.

“By falling to invest in other services, the government are simply piling the pressure on policing. I’m pleased that the independent policing inspectorate has acknowledged that. It’s now for the government to take action.”

In Sir Tom Winsor’s State of Policing report, he says: “Policing is most closely linked with education; health (particularly mental health), drug and alcohol dependency support; housing; and social services.”

The report goes on to say:

“Many people whose life experience leads them to the fringes of society become offenders. Some become repeat offenders.

“This happens for many reasons − for example, unstable home and family environments; poverty; ineffective parenting; unsuitable housing; adverse childhood experiences; long-term absence from school; drug and alcohol addiction; mental illness; criminal exploitation; exposure to prison environments; ineffective rehabilitation; and weak or absent support and supervision on release from prison.

“Whatever the reasons, the shortcomings of one public service will often transfer demand to another.”

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