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 World Class Policing award for Community Peer Mentor project


A PROJECT which has reduced demand on frontline officers by empowering vulnerable people has been honoured at the inaugural World Class Policing Awards.
The Community Peer Mentors scheme, in which volunteers work with vulnerable and isolated people leading to a fall in the number of mental health calls to the police, was highly commended at the awards held in London last night.
It was one of four Durham-based projects to reach the finals of the awards, which honour outstanding police work from across the world.
Jim Cunningham, Peer Mentor Co-ordinator said: "Receiving this award is a true reflection of all the outstanding work to support vulnerable and isolated people, by our dedicated and hardworking team, along with our amazing and talented volunteers."
The unique project sees 450 volunteers work with vulnerable and isolated people who are affected by mental health issues, victims of crime, neighbourly disputes, and anti-social behaviour.
Since it was introduced, more than 39,000 hours of police time has been saved, easing the pressure on officers and staff.
Steve White, Acting Police Crime and Victims Commissioner said: “A huge congratulations to the Community Peer Mentor team for being highly commended at the first World Class Policing Awards.
“This fantastic scheme helps to turn the lives of clients around and improve their life chances, as well as helping to reduce demand on our services.
The project aims to reduce the pressure on frontline emergency services, and local councils by engaging with those who make frequent calls to these services and reducing the severity and frequency of the calls”.
 Chief Constable Jo Farrell, from Durham Constabulary, added: “Four Durham projects were finalists at the World Class Policing Awards, each one of them recognised for their work to improve the lives of people in County Durham and Darlington.
“I’d like to thank all the officers and staff involved: their hard work and dedication is a credit to policing, a credit to Durham and makes a real difference to the public we serve.
“I’d particularly like to offer my congratulations to everyone involved in the Community Peer Mentors scheme, who thoroughly deserved their commendation”.
Judges commented that this programme “demonstrates so many of the characteristics of World Class Policing.”
A spokesman from the Awards added: “It is high impact both in terms of the public and victims, it involves some of the most marginalised people themselves in the delivery of a service that changes lives, it makes a well-argued case for having an impact on staff wellbeing and it is genuinely creative and innovative in its design.”
“This is an excellent example of a progressive approach to trying to get offenders and potential offenders out of a life of crime by taking time to deal with the issues they are facing, and thereby increasing the confidence in local police and a feeling of safety in the local community.”