The Children’s Commissioner visited Bedfordshire Police Headquarters on Monday, July 12, to understand more about the challenges faced by young people in Bedfordshire.
Dame Rachel De Souza spent time talking to officers and staff working in the Public Protection Unit (PPU) and the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) to look at how the force works with partners to support young people, as well as hearing about challenges and recent success stories.
In one of her previous roles before becoming Children’s Commissioner, Dame De Souza was the headteacher of Barnfield West Academy in Luton.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “It was a privilege to host the Children’s Commissioner. Dame De Souza was impressed by the hard work and the commitment of our teams. We were able to highlight some of the challenges faced by young people in Bedfordshire and talk about how police can best respond to them.”
Topics covered included serious youth violence, mental health, online safety, domestic abuse, exploitation, and the impact of Covid-19 on young people.
Lisa Robinson, exploitation lead for the VERU, said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome the Children’s Commissioner to Bedfordshire and to be able to talk about the issues that matter most to the young people in our county. It’s really reassuring to have Dame De Souza listen to our concerns and to know that she will ensure our voices are heard at the highest level.”
Bedfordshire Police is supporting the next campaign by the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) project raising awareness of child exploitation.