Instead of dealing in drugs and carrying weapons David* (not his real name) has managed to turn his life around and secure a job as a roofer thanks to a pioneering scheme being ran by Northumbria Police.
Before joining the Get Connected scheme which is ran by The Force alongside the The Enthusiasm Trust and a range of partner agencies, the 17-year-old wasn’t in education, employment or training and was refusing to engage with his youth offending team.
He had been heavily involved in gang activity, drug dealing, child criminal exploitation and would also post Drill videos online where he openly discussed carrying weapons.
However, with the help and support from his dedicated mentors at the Trust, David has secured an apprenticeship at a Newcastle-based roofing firm and vowed to turn his back on serious crime.
Detective Superintendent Mick Paterson, of Northumbria Police’s Crime Department, said: “Serious and organised crime is has a toxic effect on our communities and the people who live in them.
“Pursuing offenders is just one way we can topple these sophisticated groups that corrode our society and programmes like Get Connected are a fantastic way to reach out to young, vulnerable people at risk of being groomed by these organised crime groups.
“We are so pleased that the programme is starting to see results and that young people like David* now know there is an alternative to crime and that there are people out there prepared to support them and give them the help and encouragement they need to succeed in life.
“We understand many young people do not want to engage with the police but by working with partners and organisations like The Enthusiasm Trust means we can still reach out to young people and be part of an inspirational programme like this which. We are really pleased with the success we are seeing.”
Get Connected, which launched in October last year, is funded by the Home Office at a cost of £67,782 and sees the Force working alongside The Enthusiasm Trust, Safe Newcastle and the Newcastle United Foundation, to divert vulnerable young people away from serious and organised crime. The unique programme offers multi-agency workshops, bespoke interventions with vulnerable individuals, one-to-one mentoring and parental engagement.
A total of 19 individuals at risk of being drawn into Serious and Organised Crime in the Newcastle area were identified and given access to the bespoke programme, led by Northumbria Police, alongside the Derby-based charity.
Commissioner McGuinness said “I congratulate David for the huge, positive change he’s made to his life, his determination is commendable. The work Northumbria Police do in partnership with Get Connected is a real example of what can be achieved when partners come together, creating opportunities for young people to get into a career they enjoy leads to happier, healthier lives, David has shown that people can be deterred away from crime with this approach and we want to see more of this in Northumbria”.