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Class Acts: children and young people celebrated at policing awards

Eleven children and young people from across Avon and Somerset were recognised for their significant community contribution at the Children and Young People Policing Awards on Wednesday 3 July.

Held at Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier, the afternoon event saw police officers and PCSOs, police staff, parents, carers and representatives from local authorities and charities come together in celebration of the altruistic actions of some of the youngest members of our communities.

The awards ceremony was organised by our dedicated team of youth project & engagement coordinators to showcase how the force’s four key values – Caring, Courageous, Inclusive and Learning – can be demonstrated outside of policing through the hard work, kind deeds and public-spiritedness of young people.

Each value had its own award category, with two to three individuals nominated for each one. The neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs who sent in nominations were also on hand at the event to celebrate the nominees’ achievements.

Detective Chief Inspector Larisa Hunt remarked: “I’m the police lead for children and young people, so it’s heartwarming to hear the amazing work our young community members have been doing, and to be able to thank and reward them.

“Being a caring, courageous and inclusive person, and somebody willing to learn and adapt, is what we strive for every day at Avon and Somerset Police, from the Senior Leadership Team to police officers and police staff.

“We’re humbled and inspired by the award nominees who are already reflecting these values in their actions and behaviour.”

Given the coastal location, and despite the grey and rainy day, the awards hall was adorned with fun seaside decorations, including buckets filled with sand as table centrepieces. Families were also treated to popcorn, sweets and a fish and chips lunch before the children were let loose in the pier’s amusement park post-ceremony.

Following the event’s success in its debut year, we are hoping the Children and Young People Policing Awards become an annual occurrence.

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The winners and runners-up are as follows:

CARINGawarded by Rebecca Marshall, Partnership, Prevention and Diversion Manager, Avon and Somerset Police

Winner Issac, Easton

Issac used to have problems adapting to school, which sometimes showed in his behaviour in class. He’s since responded very well to the help he’s received and thrived on a recent school trip where he enjoyed working with farm animals and supporting his homesick friends. Issac has turned his behaviour around to become a role model for his peers and is often seen helping new or anxious children at school.

Joint runners-up Amelie and Jasmin, Whitchurch
As part of Avon and Somerset’s Mini Police programme, Amelie and Jasmin participated in a community action project at a care home, playing games and bonding with the elderly residents. What stood out was the compassion and caring nature of the two girls towards the residents, their attention to detail in ensuring that the trip was a success, and even spending their own time making badges and bracelets for the residents.

COURAGEOUS awarded by Karen MacDonald, Crimestoppers Regional Manager South West

Joint winners Laila and Maisie, Winterbourne

Laila and Maisie demonstrated the importance of being upstanders and not bystanders when they helped a young man being assaulted violently at a recreation ground in Winterbourne. The incident happened on 3 March this year. They went to his aid, collected his dog and helped him home. Due to Laila and Maisie’s courageous actions, which involved standing up to their peers, the perpetrator was prosecuted.

Runner-up Luca, Mangotsfield
Luca has been on his own courageous journey over the last couple of years. He was taken on as a participant of Wheels – an alternative education provision that offers highly supervised courses in motor vehicle repair and road safety – as well as engaging with the Violence Reduction Partnership. During his time with Wheels, Luca was positive, respectful and helpful to others. He was, and still is, a good influence on other young people around him and should be commended for his self-reflection and effort to achieve.

INCLUSIVE awarded by Alex Raikes, Director of SARI (Stand against Racism and Inequality)

Winner Warsome Hersi, Bristol

Warsome chairs the Young Person’s Independent Advisory Group, which opens a two-way dialogue between the police and young community members around issues affecting them most. He is also co-founder of NextGen Circle, a community group that organises sports-based programmes for young people in Bristol, particularly those from minoritised communities. Reaching 200+ people a week, NextGen Circle’s goal is to build youth confidence and self-esteem, instil values and key skills on and off the pitch, and provide young people with a positive and safe space to spend their free time.

Runner-up Monica, Bristol
Having arrived in Bristol from Hong Kong close to the end of the pandemic, Monica set up the East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) Moon Circle – a platform for the ESEA community in Bristol, and the UK more widely, to connect with one another online. She’s also the organiser of MOON FEST, an annual event that exhibits and celebrates the work of ESEA creatives, from artists and musicians to filmmakers and chefs.

LEARNINGawarded by Chief Superintendent Liz Hughes, Neighbourhood and Partnerships, Avon and Somerset Police

Joint winners Lucy and Dasha, South Glos

In conjunction with the South Gloucestershire Youth Board, Lucy and Dasha created a survey on the theme of serious violence, which captured children’s voices on the impact of knife crime and their experience. They spent one year conducting their research with the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP). The 768 responses achieved have helped shape the work of the VRP and led to a successful bid for Grip funding – allocated by the Home Office to fund additional high-visibility patrols and problem-solving work.

Runner-up Paige, Weston-super-Mare
Paige attends Police Cadet sessions with unwavering enthusiasm. What sets her apart is her continuous drive for self-improvement: she consistently strives to enhance her skills and knowledge, ensuring that she and her peers have the necessary tools to succeed. Paige’s proactive approach to learning and her willingness to go above and beyond expectations make her an invaluable asset to Avon and Somerset Police.