Giving older citizens a voice on policing and crime
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has launched the Sussex Elders’ Commission (SEC), to provide a mechanism for older citizens to support, challenge and inform the priorities set out in the county’s Police and Crime Plan.
The 28 volunteers, aged 60 to 85 have a range of experience in the private and public sector. Some have been victims of crime or anti-social behaviour and some want to get more involved in keeping their communities safe.
They have held their first workshop ahead of a Sussex-wide consultation – the Big Conversation – with their family, friends and peers on policing and crime issues.
The workshop involved presentations from Sussex Police and partners on scamming, elder abuse and police objectives, as well as discussion groups and a Q&A session.
Commenting on the importance of the SEC, Mrs Bourne said: “Twenty per cent of the Sussex population is aged 65 and over and the biggest population increase is in the over 85s. As PCC and the daughter of an elderly mother, I feel it is vital that we listen and act on the concerns of this section of our society. The SEC will provide a much- needed platform for older residents to inform and challenge my Police & Crime Plan and feedback on local policing in their area”.
Jonathan Hopkins, from Citadel Policy and Communications who spoke at the workshop said: “I was inspired by the commitment and passion the members have to make a real difference, drawing on their extensive networks. It is by engaging directly with older people and their experiences across Sussex that issues can be evidenced and solutions found from within local communities. The members did not shy away from getting to grips with difficult issues from elder abuse to cyber-crime and the challenges for local policing. This will play a major part in shaping and influencing policies and improvements for older people living in Sussex”.
Mrs Bourne continued: “It was great to meet the members again and hear why they have signed up to the SEC and what they want to get from it. Pauline Jackson from Bexhill told me that as a trustee of Age UK in East Sussex she is passionate about the elderly community, particularly those who are vulnerable and isolated. She feels that she will be able to reach out further to fellow residents and inform them of what is happening in their community and how the SEC can improve their experience with Sussex Police.
“Ray Hoare from Horsted Keynes told me he has always had a keen interest in local policing and wants to be more informed on the changes that lie ahead. He will use the SEC to feed back on how local policing is working in his community and what concerns residents have.
“Kate Davies, who chairs East Sussex Seniors Association, said she feels that older people’s fear of crime is often greater then the crime rate itself. Kate wants to enable the elderly to have a proper say on policing and make sure their voices are heard”.
Members have already identified their priorities which include financial coercion; fear of crime; local policing, isolation and road safety.
The workshop highlighted the different mechanisms and channels that members intend to use for the Big Conversation, ranging from small intimate groups to large pre-existing events, speaking opportunities as well as stints on hospital radio.
The OPCC will support the members’ programme of engagement with venue, transport, surveys, and engagement tools and training.
Find out more about the next steps for the Elders’ Commission visit www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk
Following the recent survey of activities in Wealden, the Secretary of Cross in Hand Bowls Club would like to offer facilities at the bowls club for anyone that showed an interest in pursuing bowls as a pastime.The green is open from the middle of April until end of September.
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New analysis from Age UK and Grandparents Plus reveals that the informal childcare provided by grandparents is now worth £7.3 billion a year – up from £3.9 billion in 2004. Both the number of children looked after by grandparents and the length of time that grandparents spend on childcare are rising.
Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 the number of children receiving informal childcare from their grandparents went up from 1.3 million to 1.6 million (from 11.7% to 14.3% of all children under 14). The total number of child-hours of childcare provided by grandparents over the year also rose from 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion, a 35% increase.
The research showed that 1 in 4 working families depends on grandparents for childcare, and that half of all mothers rely on grandparents to provide childcare when they return to work after maternity leave.
Nearly two in three (63%) grandparents with a grandchild under 16 look after their grandchildren, and 1 in 5 (19%) grandmothers provide at least 10 hours of childcare a week.
The analysis has been conducted for the two charities by Age UK Chief Economist Prof José Iparraguirre and Sarah Wellard, Director of Policy, Research and Communications at Grandparents Plus, drawing on data from the national Understanding Society Survey, which includes information on childcare usage by over 11,000 children. The analysis is included in a new briefing paper that has been produced by Grandparents Plus and published today.
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, said: “Grandparents are throwing a life line to families squeezed by falling real incomes and rising childcare costs. The contribution they are making within their families and the wider economy is enormous and rising. The risk is of an emerging childcare gap, as grandmothers stay in paid work and are no longer available to provide care, with mothers leaving the labour market as a result.“
Caroline Abrahams, Director of External Affairs at Age UK, added: “As the state pension age rises, it may become increasingly difficult for grandparents to continue providing such invaluable support, which is why Age UK would like to see everyone being able to request flexible working arrangements from their employers.”
Smethers continued: “The Government needs to respond by increasing the affordability and availability of formal childcare, and making it easier for grandparents to combine work and caring responsibilities. We need more flexible working and greater flexibility in the way parental leave can be used, for example making it transferable to a grandparent.
“A useful first step would be to make emergency leave when children are ill or schools are closed available for grandparents.”
Because gains in life expectancy have outstripped gains in healthy life expectancy, potentially over two thirds of people in the UK could find themselves living all of their retirement years in ill-health.
A debate on “Longevity, health and public policy” in late July saw over 100 delegates from Government, the media and public policy explore the challenges of increased longevity, poor health and the implications of an ageing society.
There were concerns raised that key social issues – such as Government plans to encourage people to work longer, the standard of living that people will have and the level of care available – may all be undermined if these challenges are not tackled now.
During the debate, participants argued that there was a need for greater awareness of the implications, so that Government, the financial services industry and individuals together may identify and pursue possible solutions.
The event also saw the launch of a new factpack, “Ageing, longevity and demographic change”, sponsored by Legal & General, which includes facts and statistics that highlight some of the major challenges that need to be addressed.
Professor Les Mayhew of Cass Business School said: “The good news is that we are all living longer than previous generations. However, if policymakers fail to respond to the longevity challenge, taxes could increase, public spending (including pensions) could be squeezed and pressures for immigration could increase.
“Longevity needs to be managed if we are to protect the living standards of future generations. While a bigger population leads to greater GDP, it does not necessarily translate into higher living standards. Part of the solution lies in re-calibrating our approach to health by recognising the importance of prevention and how health and social care are delivered.”
Baroness Sally Greengross chief executive of the ILC-UK added: “Future generations of older and younger people will not thank policymakers for failing to take the longevity challenges seriously. If we are to manage the costs and maximise the opportunities of an ageing society, the time to act is now.
“We must plan for tomorrow, today.”
Professor Michael Murphy of the London School of Economic, (LSE) highlighted the need for us to better understand the impact of demographic change, saying: “While the numbers of older people will increase substantially in decades to come, we know less about how healthy they are likely to be. “Healthy ageing” is moving up the policy agenda but much remains to be done. Looking ahead, the balance of care needs will shift from acute to social care services and the focus of attention will shift from older people in general to the particular needs of the ‘oldest old’.”
The new ILC-UK factpack collates statistics on our ageing society from a variety of reputable sources. It will provide, in a single document, details of key longevity trends and statistics that will then be updated annually.
The report can be downloaded here: ILC-UK_Factpack_-_WEB_DOWNLOAD(1)