Ashley Bertie – Assistant Crime Commissioner
Ashley Bertie Assistant Crime Commissioner for WM PCC, discusses how WM sought to work closely with the communities to build a progressive strategy to deal with the increase in Gang and Youth related crime.
In this insightful and forward thinking presentation, Ashley discusses how the Gun and Violence Commission was set up in the WM. He openly talks about the process adopted that involved lengthy discussion with all aspects of the communities, private and public sector organisations, to determine the issues and how these needed to be resolved. It was clear that enforcement alone was not a viable approach.
In 2017, following 18 months of consultation, the conclusions were published. This focussed on a series of key recommendations and a clear recognition that this needed a public health approach. The critical aspects identified included at their heart, that any strategy had to focus on prevention and that young people had to be able develop the skills and motivations needed to succeed in life.
Many recommendations (24) were identified, and Ashley discusses several of these, including the need to have negotiators who would liaise with the communities, talk to people, understand the local issues and help to prevent issues developing. Critically, these people needed to have the credible, relevant, life experiences to engage with young people and the communities.
Ashley further discusses the WM plan to take 25% of its cadets from socially deprived backgrounds to enable young people who are positively motivated to contribute to society to have an avenue to show their talents, to have a voice and an opportunity to grow and learn.
Ashley also discusses the introduction of youth workers in A&E departments. Incidents that occur in this area often present opportunities to teach, to intervene and engage with those affected by violence and start the process of building long term trust and support and to leave criminality behind them.
Another initiative being adopted is that of mentors. Creating a sense of hope and ambition is extremely important and as such WM have built a community of inspiring people who come from similar backgrounds to the young people, but have gone on to great success in their personal lives. They are able to discuss the pitfalls and the challenges, but also provide guidance to young people as to what can be achieved and how to realise their potential.
WM have allocated additional funding to make this initiative a success and a view shared by Ashley is that the Guns and Violence Commission is one way that they are working to help young people to believe they can succeed, to give them hope and ambition and the courage and motivation to believe in themselves.
Ashley Bertie Assistant Crime Commissioner
At just 26, Ashley is one of the brightest talents in West Midlands politics and policing.
Born and bred in Kingstanding, Birmingham, he has worked at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner since 2014 and has played a huge part in transforming West Midlands Police’s Stop and Search policy. Ashley produced a schools workshop that explained and broke down barriers about Stop and Search for young people, as well as working directly with the force to drive down the number of people unnecessarily stopped yet improving the arrest rate.
The Nottingham University graduate, who became Assistant PCC from his role as a researcher, now plans to turn his attention to the force’s youth engagement policy, leading on a Gangs & Violence Commission and creating a police cadet scheme. This is all part of his passion for transparency, intelligence-led policing and fostering positive relations between the police and young people.
The former Great Barr School student previously worked as a researcher for Shadow Policing Minister Jack Dromey MP and ran campaigns for Gisela Stuart MP. He is also involved in European think tank, Success, looking at diversity and members of BME communities across Europe.