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Rio stars are a lesson for all of us

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Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk
Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk

Even if you’re not particularly interested in the Olympics I hope you’ll agree that some of the individual and team performances have been quite outstanding.

Many of our British athletes are shining examples of what young people can accomplish – it was great to see local boy Chris Walker-Hebborn, pictured, who attended King Edward VI school, win a silver in the swimming relay; Max Whitlock, the winner of two gymnastics Olympic gold medals, is only 23 years old and Adam Peaty (swimming gold) is only aged 21. Of course it’s not only just about winning medals – many individuals have delivered their best personal scores and been successful beyond their wildest dreams.

So what has this got to do with policing and crime prevention? Actually, rather a lot since I believe there are lessons for all of us here and for society as a whole. The young Olympians are supreme examples of what youngsters can achieve when given the right opportunity, encouragement and support. Of course there are years of dedication and training that requires perseverance, dedication and commitment driven by the desire to win and simply be the best. For many, it has seen elimination of doubt, self-sacrifice and overcoming the pain barriers - something not everyone is capable of doing. I suspect in many cases the considerable support from friends, family trainers and team players is hugely improatnt. When everyone pulls together it shows what can be achieved and that is exactly what we need to continue doing in Suffolk if we are to reduce and prevent crime.

For me, as your Police and Crime Commissioner, I have always had a very keen interest in helping youngsters fulfil their potential by giving them the best opportunities in life. Our beautiful county has a well-deserved reputation of being a very safe place to live and work in, but it is also the case there are pockets of severe economic and social deprivation not only in our towns but in our villages as well. And therefore it is crucial that those of us who are in a position to make a positive difference do all we can for those who, for whatever reason find themselves in difficulty.

There are many initiatives that support Suffolk’s younger generation, but there is one new scheme we will be piloting in the forthcoming academic year that we are especially proud of – our new apprenticeship programme being run jointly with the Constabulary and the Office of The Police and Crime Commissioner. This pilot scheme is being developed in preparation for a much larger initiative in the following year.

This initial scheme will provide work experience for four young people in the disciplines of business administration and customer service. The business admin candidates will each spend four months working in my office and the rest of the year gaining experience and training in the Constabulary, qualifying at Level 2. The Chief Constable and I are totally committed long term to this scheme and we are both really looking forward to welcoming these young people to Suffolk Constabulary and the contributions they will make for helping keep Suffolk safe.

There are further benefits - people under the age of 30 make up one third of Suffolk’s population and their input and ideas are vital for the county’s future prosperity and well-being. I really hope in a few years we’ll look back with pride on our new apprenticeship scheme and see that it helped people climb onto the career ladder, and that their contributions made a real difference for all of us.

The apprenticeships are will be advertised through the government portal: www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk. The closing date for the applications is 9th September. If you know a young person who may be interested please let them know.

-- Tim Passmore is Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk