Teaching teenagers ‘thinking skills’ will stop them falling into drug gangs, says crime commissioner

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Teaching young people new “thinking skills” will make a “critical difference” to teenagers involved in gangs and violence, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) has said.

Tim Passmore believes the £56,997 government funding to set up the new Thinking Skills Programme in Suffolk will help vulnerable youngsters to make better life choices and be less likely to reoffend.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Suffolk worked with other organisations, such as Suffolk County Council, to secure the cash from the Home Office’s £22million Early Intervention Fund.

Some people expressed fears Suffolk got significantly less money than neighbouring areas such as Norfolk and Essex despite having a major problem with ‘county lines’, where drug dealers from London ply their trade in quieter rural areas.

But Mr Passmore said: “Suffolk is a relatively small force so I am particularly pleased to see we are one of only 19 force areas to secure a share of this Early Intervention Youth Fund.

“The Home Office received over 100 bids so it’s excellent news that they were impressed by the multi-agency work being carried out here in the county to support our young people.”

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The programme will deliver intensive small group and individual work with young people aged 10 to 18 involved in offending through violence or gangs and known to Suffolk Youth Justice Service.

It will support up to eight high-risk young people and will also work with their parents to try and ensure the work has a long-term impact.

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“It’ll help them with making the right choices,” said Mr Passmore.

“It will be intensive and highly-focused. There’s a good chance of success.”

A statement from Mr Passmore’s office added: “It will make a critical difference to young people involved in violence and gang activity.”

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Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “This additional funding will be used specifically to support some of our vulnerable young people who are at risk of offending or becoming involved in criminal activities.

“By supporting our young people to make better choices we can help them to secure their own positive futures.”

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