Speaker Meeting, 6.15 for 6.30pm

Mon 3rd February 2020 at 6.30 pm - 8.00 pm

Katy (Police Officer) on the left and Mandi Coles (Police Community Support Officer) on the right with Club Vice President Kathy

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Mandi Coles is a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). She was accompanied by Katy, a serving Police Officer with 13 years’ experience.  Our speakers this week, they were here to talk about the Swindon Police Force’s Early Intervention Programme (EIP).

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are stressful events occurring in children’s lives such as being in households where there is violence, having a parent with mental health issues, or in prison, or addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Or perhaps suffering themselves from parental abandonment or abuse.

The aims of the EIP are to improve the lives of such children, and by extension the community, by identification of any risks; to reduce crime and disorder by involving young people through an intelligence-led, holistic approach to the concerns; and to improve the confidence of young people in the Police by enhancing the quality of contact. 

Troublesome behaviour is a symptom of a family or child that is troubled.  Being “troublesome” means causing difficulties or annoyance to family members and the community at large.  Being “troubled” causes distress, anxiety and unsettlement. 

The Team in Swindon are currently working with 62 children.  Of those only 2 do not have any ACES.  Since the Programme was introduced some 300 children have benefitted from it.  It is voluntary – it requires consent from the both the child and their parent or guardian.  One of the keys to success is not to give up, so there is no time limit set for each case.

Children at risk are discovered from referrals by Police Officers, teachers, social workers and youth workers.  When a child is identified he or she is referred to the Programme and a PCSO will be allocated to work with the child and its family.  The PCSO will speak with the family and explain what they hope to achieve and obtain their written consent.  Fortnightly visits will be set up, either to the home or to the school, to discuss and solve the problems with the child.  The parent or guardian can attend meetings and give input if they want to.

Early intervention is crucial to get to the root causes of any involvement in crime and the prevention of problems before they escalate.  Spotting risks early on and putting the right multi-agency support in place can greatly improve outcomes for young people and can prevent them from becoming involved in crime.  It also makes sound economic sense as a disruptive child costs the government around £70,000 through the criminal justice service, social services and the NHS.

If progress is being made, assessments will take place to see if the child is ready to leave the Programme.  If progress is not being achieved, reference might be made to Early Help Hub, MASH and other agencies.  The Programme is proving invaluable to the Police as there are clear reductions in anti-social behaviour, missing children and family/child related police callouts. 

Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895) American statesman and social reformer said: “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”