Residents aged 60 to 85 and from across the county, came together this week to participate in the first Elders’ Commission workshop ahead of a Sussex-wide consultation – the Big Conversation – with their family, friends and peers on policing and crime.
The 28 members, with a range of experience in the private and public sector, were greeted on Tuesday by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne. 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.
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 and Crime Plan and feedback on local policing in their area.”
Jonathan Hopkins, from Citadel Policy and Communications who spoke at the event 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 said, “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 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 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 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.
For more information visit www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/elders-commission