I'm proud to be the first Police Commissioner to put fighting the effects of poverty on the same footing as fighting crime.
When it comes too policing, my first priority will always be more officers on the beat putting more dangerous criminals in prison.
Be that will only ever get us so far.
What our region needs is radical solutions to the poverty we face around us.
And my new strategic plan for crime and policing does just that.
It sounds obvious to say it, but if you live in an area of poverty you are far more likely to be a victim of violent crime, of anti-social behaviour or theft.
When the pandemic hit, 27% of children in the north were in poverty and it’s even higher once housing costs are added on.
Some 58% of our councils have above average rates of child poverty – compared to 19% nationally.
And if you’re a parent in an area of deprivation you’re more likely to be worried your children will suffer from bad influences.
You’ll be more likely to see your children suffer from a lack of opportunity, from the lack of good services after years of austerity.
So, yes, we have an economy that is thriving in some sectors. We have new factories and university campuses.
But if we do not come up with radical anti—poverty solutions then we are in real danger of creating a two-tier North East,
one thriving aspiration, one of persistent poverty
And we have to challenge that.
To kick-start the unveiling of the new approach to tackling crime, I have awarded £130,000 of cash to a range of community causes through the first round of my Operation Payback 2022 scheme.
The scheme uses cash seized from criminals to fund meaningful grass roots initiatives, improve local lives and repair the harm caused to communities by crime. Beneficiaries announced today include:
New Beginnings – Sunderland
Sports for Youth – Newcastle
Primrose Park Alliance – South Tyneside
Stomping Ground Forest School – Gateshead
Mindstars NE – North Tyneside
Prudhoe Youth Project – Northumberland
Full list available here