Suffolk: Campaigner attacks PCC adverts

AN ADVERTISING campaign to persuade voters to take part in the first election of police and crime commissioners is "incredibly unjust" and "perpetuates the myth that the elderly need to fear the young", a campaigner has said.

The Home Office has simply "tramped out the old stereotype that we've all got to fear young people", Tony Gearing, founder of the Young People of the Year (Yopey) awards, said.

Mr Gearing, from Stradishall, said: "I'm now fearful. Are the police and crime commissioners going to treat crime in the same coarse, crude and stereotypical way?"

More than 35 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the November 15 contests for the new posts, which will replace existing police authorities in 41 force areas across England and Wales.

The commissioners will have the power to set force budgets and priorities and even hire and fire chief constables.

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To increase awareness amid fears of a low turnout, the Home Office has launched an advertising campaign showing drug dealing, yobs punching commuters, fly-tippers shouting abuse and a car wing mirror being kicked off.

Viewers of the televsion advert are told they can soon vote for someone to set their local policing priorities.

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But Mr Gearing, who runs the Yopey campaign to give youngsters a fairer image in the media and society, said all the criminals shown in the advert appeared to be young people.

"It's an incredibly unjust advert that perpetuates the myth that the elderly need to fear the young," he said.

"Young people are the victims of crime.

"Where was the middle-aged rapist? Where was the elderly financial crook?

"It was mainly low-level crime all being committed by young people."

He went on: "We'd like to work with police and crime commissioners who would like to tackle crime in a more considered way.

"I saw the police (and crime) commissioners as new allies in this cause and now I'm concerned. Are they just going to perpetuate these stereotypes that older people must fear young people?

"I still want to work with them, but I hope this ad does not reflect the attitudes that they have - and that they are more informed and more considered in the way they tackle crime."

But a Home Office spokesman said: “These adverts show the stark reality for people who have been the victims of everyday crimes - the crimes a PCC will work with the community to tackle.

“PCCs will give the public and victims, including young people, a chance to have a say on how their streets are policed and ensure forces are responding to the issues they care about most.”

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