Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Crime-cutting projects win Howard League Community Awards

15th November 2019

Successful community projects that reduce crime and transform lives for the better have been honoured with prestigious Howard League Community Awards.

Chef, author and broadcaster Prue Leith presented awards and commendations to outstanding schemes from across the country. The prize-giving was the highlight of the Howard League's 'Policing the Community' conference in London.

West Yorkshire projects CATCH (Community Action To Create Hope) and POLIT (Police Online Investigation Team) Pathway, which won the 'Policing and children' and 'Policing and adults' categories respectively.

Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire Police, said: "I was delighted to be at the 2019 Community awards held by the Howard League for Penal Reform to support CATCH and PC Ash Razzaq in their incredible work in helping young people fulfil their potential in areas of Leeds.

"CATCH is a fantastic example of successful partnership working based on four principles of Engagement, Education, Intervention/Diversion and Prevention and there have been numerous individual success stories which I have seen and heard for myself first hand."

"I have visited and supported CATCH in various ways pretty much since being elected as PCC in 2012, learned about the programme, visited events which have been run by volunteers and spoken to many young people impacted by the project. There are very few centres like this which are always open and available to support young people seven days a week providing them with a safe haven to develop positively and spend their free time.

"Ash (who supports CATCH as a volunteer) has done an amazing job with all the other volunteers and I am currently looking at how we can use this proven work as a model to reduce Serious and Violent Crime across other parts of West Yorkshire. The recognition they are receiving for turning young lives around is no less than they deserve and is a shining example of what can be achieved."

Catryn Yousefi, Programmes Manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "The Howard League Community Awards celebrate successful projects and pioneers who guide people away from crime and help to make us all safer.

"Only the very best schemes in the UK are honoured each year and, once again, we were delighted to receive so many high-quality nominations."

The 'Organisation of the Year' category was won by C2C Social Action, a charity working with people who have been caught up in the criminal justice system. The charity's services include running a women's centre in Northamptonshire, where women receive help with issues such as homelessness; education, training and employment; health; addictions; finance, debt and benefits; family relationships; domestic abuse; and loneliness and isolation.

The 'Restorative approaches' category was won by Restorative Cleveland, part of the Safe in Tees Valley project commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

The Amber Foundation won the 'Liaison and diversion' category for its work with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It runs a residential centre in Surrey.

The 'Women' category was won by LINC (Local Initiatives Nurturing Change), a Willowdene Rehabilitation project that delivers support to women across Warwickshire and West Mercia.

In addition to the successful projects, the Howard League presented awards to two outstanding individuals - Baroness Jean Corston and Julie Parsons.

In 2007 Baroness Corston published her seminal report, A Review of Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System, as an international blueprint for how women in the justice system should be treated. She has worked tirelessly since then on issues such as stopping strip-search; investing in women's centres; and stopping the construction of more women's prisons. She has led with the Howard League on driving forward the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System.

Julie Parsons founded C2C Social Action in 2003. The charity has diverted many women from crime and has even set up a successful social enterprise bakery, called The Good Loaf. The charity has three houses, where vulnerable people are offered accommodation and help in accessing appropriate services. There are also plans to provide a safe shelter for homeless women.