July 24 2014 Latest news:
By Marijke Cox, Reporter
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Independent candidate Ann Barnes says she wants to give young people in Kent a voice
A hopeful in the Police and Crime Commissioner race has vowed to give young people a voice if elected by creating a youth police commissioner post.
Ann Barnes, who is the current chair of Kent Police Authority (KPA), the body which currently monitors the county’s force, said it would be a paid job and open to all young people, from school leavers to gap year students and unemployed youngsters.
“A police youth commissioner will create a link to those who really know what it’s like to be a young citizen in Kent,” she said.
“There are a lot of disenchanted young people out there and we need to give them a say in policing.”
Last week Mrs Barnes made the surprise announcement she would be standing in the PCC election as an independent on November 15 despite previously criticising the upcoming role, which is being introduced by the Home Office.
She told this website she had no other choice but to stand if the Government was to push ahead with the shake-up. She is expected to stand down as KPA chair in August.
The PCC will be an individual voted in by the public for a four-year term to replace the existing KPA on November 22.
They will set the budget, determine a policing strategy and have the power to hire and fire the Chief Constable.
The annual salary is £85,000.
Mrs Barnes launched her youth initiative during a visit to community radio Academy FM at the Folkestone Academy.
She pledged to use some of her own salary to fund the post.
“It would be a paid job, different to an internship, and it will last for a year,” she said.
“I’ll take someone new on each year and they will be the face of policing for young people – the person who will give them a voice.”
Mrs Barnes said the idea stemmed from the suggestion made by independent London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita in April who said there should be a youth Mayor of London.
“I thought it made sense and was a really good idea. This is not just an electioneering gimmick,” she said.
“It will be something a young person can benefit from, they will gain experience and to have something like that on their CV would be brilliant.
“They will help me engage fully with young people the length and breadth of the county. So often, young people say they feel isolated from the work of the police. My youth commissioner initiative will bridge the gap.”
Mrs Barnes said if she is elected the youth post would be in place by April 1, following an open recruitment process.
She is inviting feedback about the role at www.annbarnes.co.uk.
Other PCC candidates are Craig Mackinlay (Con), Harriet Yeo (Lab), Steven Uncles (English Democrats) and independent hopefuls Dai Liyanage, Ken Little, Fran Croucher, Fergus Wilson and Ian Driver.
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