[Left-right: Tom Hoyles, Alun Michael, Hannah Farrar and Pearl Sangha]
Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, who is campaigning to be the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, called for joint action to offer a positive future for young people in Swansea and promised his personal backing to the council’s youth policy.
Speaking in Swansea, after meeting Councillor Mitchell Theaker, portfolio holder for youth policy, Mr Michael praised the new leadership of Swansea City Council for spelling out “a clear vision of hope for the city”. Mr Michael added: “I particularly welcome the way that the Leader, Councillor David Phillips, has underlined the need for stronger and safer communities with an emphasis on tackling youth unemployment and promoting community safety”.
There are clear links between Swansea’s new vision and his reasons for standing to be Police and Crime Commissioner, said Mr Michael. “The authoritative report which we produced when I was a senior member of the Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons shows that most of the powers and services which can reduce crime and disorder in our society lie outside the police and the criminal justice system. So a partnership approach is vital for everybody.”
“I first stood for Parliament because my experience of working with unemployed young people was that they had been left without hope and without opportunity by the Thatcher Government. And as Deputy Home Secretary from 1997, I introduced both the crime reduction partnerships and the youth offending teams which have been successful in cutting crime”, he added.
“In Wales, the Welsh Government has put in place schemes to help unemployed young people that were scrapped in England but we can’t escape all the problems created by a UK Government that is cutting too far and too fast, particularly in regard to the police.
“In facing tough times we need to work together. Where local authorities have been willing to put in the effort that is essential to offer a brighter future to our young people, as well as working with the police and others to tackle offending behaviour itself, this has worked. If I am successful in becoming the Police and Crime Commissioner, you have my word that I will work with the police and with the Council to work towards the vision spelt out by the Council's new leadership,” he said.
Mr Michael also met representatives of Swansea Labour Students during his visit and discussed current issues of concern to students. These included ways to build trust between the police and young people, particularly during times of high youth unemployment. They also discussed ways to tackle violence, particularly violence against women and domestic violence generally.
Councillor Pearl Sangha commented : "Youth unemployment figures are staggering, it's a scandal that this government doesn't see these issues as a priority. It should be common knowledge that without employment comes the culture of crime and discontentment and the role of the police commissioner should be to support young people through these tough times. We need someone who realises that these issues are relevant today and I believe that Alun has exemplified that he understands these circumstances through meeting with various young people across South Wales."
Alun Michael added: “If I am successful in winning the Labour nomination I shall spend ime listening to the views of students and young people in Swansea and elsewhere as a part of ensuring that everybody’s views about policing and community safety form the backdrop to decisions about the future of policing in South Wales,” said Mr Michael.
A: Roath, Cardiff.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is a completely new role that was brought in with very little engagement from the public. However, the job is not to be the top cop, but to be a civilian who holds the police to account with - and on behalf of - local communities. I have never wanted to be a policeman, but I do want to make sure that the police keep us safe and respond effectively to the needs of our communities.
As Police Commissioner, I would give priority to cutting crime, but I would also want to cut the public's fear of crime. Part of reassuring the public is making sure that the police are addressing their concerns directly. This was a lesson I learned when I introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) during my time as Deputy Home Secretary. The best ideas come only after an intense period of listening to the public and local communities.
Now I would like to do the same thing as the Police Commissioner. That is why I am launching my Listening Campaign. I want to hear from hundreds of local people - as individual citizens or through community groups, churches, mosques, trade unions, schools, colleges or universities - about their ideas for the priorities that the new Police Commissioner should pursue. I will be visiting each local authority area in South Wales to listen to people's concerns and ideas on the ground and will also use this website to gather your views.
However, if you'd rather get in touch with Alun in a different way, you can use the following:
tel: 07789 217 990
The South Wales Police Commissioner will have responsibility for over 1 million people, and in order to reach so many, we need help from our supporters and volunteers. Please sign up here for more information about the campaign, and let us know if you're happy to volunteer in any capacity.
As a young woman walking home at night by myself often in Cardiff, I would like a stronger police presence through roads to Roath and Cathays, where people are often walking by themselves (as its close enough to not have to get a taxi). I'd also like you to ensure that the street lights aren't turned off as a council cost-saving initiative, because those are vital to feel safe.