First-ever citizens’ panel on policing recommends more investment in youth services and mental health resources

Today marks the outcome of an unprecedented exercise in participatory democracy, as the UK’s first ever citizens’ panel on policing and community safety launches its strategic recommendations.

A diverse assembly of Liverpool residents convened under the ‘Building Bridges, Safer Communities’ project led by national charity Revolving Doors aimed at bridging the gap between policing and the communities they serve.

Drawing on a months-long deliberative process, participants developed a comprehensive answer to the question ‘How can we prevent crime and improve community safety for everyone and particularly marginalised groups in Liverpool?’

Reconvening today, panel members will launch the recommendations to key local decision makers in the city, including the police and crime commissioner, chief police constable and local MPs.  

Proposing transformative approaches to fostering public safety, they emphasise a popular desire for prevention, community engagement and investment in services.

Key recommendations include:

1. Greater investment in youth and social services and mental health resources to tackle the underlying causes of crime

2. Struggling families to be given additional support and connected to strengthened public services

3. Release of funds to tackle inequality, empower communities and promote active citizenship

Pavan Dhaliwal, CEO of Revolving Doors, said: “These prevention-first recommendations are not just reflective of Liverpool’s aspirations for a safer community but also serve as a proactive blueprint for change which should be considered nationally.

“The panel’s recommendations are very clear: they want root causes to offending addressed, families and young people supported and also the local community coming together to celebrate the diversity of the city.”

The Citizens’ Panel, facilitated by experts Shared Future CIC, ensured a wide array of community voices were heard and incorporated into the final recommendations. Jez Hall from Shared Future noted: “This panel should mark a significant step forward in how communities can directly influence policies on safety and policing in the UK.”

Chief constable Serena Kennedy from Merseyside Police said:  “Understanding the views of our diverse communities, particularly around public safety and prevention is vital to us, so we welcome the work of the Citizens’ Panel in Liverpool.  

“Policing has always had a vital role to play in preventing crime and harm, and as the national lead for prevention, it is something that I wholly stand behind. By intervening early and thinking about problem solving we can prevent issues from escalating, improve life chances and support communities in the future, which will make a huge difference to all across Merseyside.”

Merseyside’s police and crime commissioner, Emily Spurrell, commented: “Listening to the voices of people across Merseyside is at the heart of my work. It is critical to good decision making, so I welcome the input and views of the Citizens Panel on such a wide range of issues.

“I look forward to attending the event to update them on the progress we are making in the areas they have identified.”  

Jo Richmond, director of safer city and communities for Liverpool City Council (LCC), said:  “LCC welcomes the launch of the Building Bridges, Safer Communities Report as a valuable piece of insight into community engagement and empowerment.

“This aims of this report aligns closely with the Council’s objectives of safe, thriving, empowered and compassionate communities for all and we will share its recommendations with all the key partners at the Citysafe Board.”  

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