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Issue:- 2 May 2013

Commissioners meet with UCLan students

POLICING students got the chance to show off their skills and understanding when Lancashire's Deputy and Assistant Police and Crime Commissioners came to visit:- 30 April 2012.

The University of Central Lancashire's (UCLan) policing students were among the first people to hear from Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw following his election in November, but today it was their turn to take to the stage as they presented their policing plan to Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ibrahim Master, Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Saima Afzal MBE and Chief Superintendent Richard Bayly.

All the students are in the final year of a Foundation Degree in Policing, and as part of their planning module had been challenged to produce a strategic policing plan for a fictitious town, which included a marketing element and the challenge of incorporating significant budget reductions into their work.

Deputy Commissioner Ibrahim Master said:- "I was very impressed with the students' work and the enthusiasm they demonstrated for the project. These are students who aspire to be police officers, and their work showed an excellent understanding of how the force is run and the challenges facing it."

The students' presentation was the culmination of 10 weeks work as part of the 2nd and final year of their Policing Foundation Degrees, and the panel was given the opportunity to give feedback to the group on the plan they put forward.

Assistant Commissioner Saima Afzal MBE said:- "I was delighted to meet with the students here today and it was a great opportunity for them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the role of a strategic commander. Their work was excellent and they had really focused on some of the more national issues facing policing, including collaboration, the need for efficiency and balancing budget cuts against visible policing."

As part of their course the students have also heard a presentation from Miranda Carruthers-Watt, Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, about the Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan and attended a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel.

Sovini creating 58 new jobs in Merseyside

SOVINI Property Services have announce that they will be taking on a massive 58 new staff, to fill a variety of trade vacancies, before the end of Spring.

The building and maintenance company, part of the Sovini Group based in Merseyside, will be showcasing the vacancies and providing opportunities for individuals to apply at their recruitment exhibitions, which will take place at Aintree Racecourse on Thursday, 16 May and Monday, 20 May 2013, from 4pm to 8pm.

Director of Property Services, Phil Pemberton, said:- "It is part of the Sovini mission to create training and job opportunities for the people of Sefton and beyond, so it's great that we have the capaCity to take on such a high number of permanent staff as a result of the growing demand for our building and property services.  The group - made up of One Vision Housing, Pine Court Housing, Sovini homes and Sovini Property Services – will be employing professionals from a variety of trades - 28 Joiners, 7 Electricians, 8 Painters, 3 Gas engineers and 12 Manual workers.  As the Sovini Group is recognised as an award winning employer; with One Vision Housing named Sunday Times No.1 non-profit to work for in both 2012 and 2013, and attaining the Investors in People Gold accreditation - the event is certain to be extremely popular. Since bringing repairs and maintenance staff in-house in September 2010, the Property Services arm of Sovini has already recruited over 230 staff, providing front-line services to customers of One Vision Housing, Pine Court Housing, and also Villages Housing which outsources to Sovini. Anyone interested in any of the roles or hearing more about working at Sovini, should attend either of the 2 events, both taking place in the Princess Royal Suite, 4th Floor, Princes Royal Stand, Aintree Racecourse, on either Thursday, 16 and Monday, 20 May 2013, between 4pm and 8pm."

For more information about the event or Sovini, please visit:- or call:- 0300 365 1111.

Students campaign to encourage men to report loan sharks

A campaign to encourage more men to speak out against loan sharks is to be launched in St Helens, with the help of students from Bolton University.

Twenty five graphic design students will showcase their ideas for a marketing campaign during the event held at St Helens Central Library on Wednesday, 22 May 2013. The winning designs will be used during Men's Health Week, 10 June to 16 June 2013, to directly target men, encouraging them to engage with the England Illegal Money Lending Team and report the crime if they have been affected.

Research shows that whilst the number of men and number of women affected by loan sharks is an almost even split (52% female, 48% Male), men are much less likely to engage and give a statement (witnesses in illegal money lending cases is 64% female, 36% male).

The marketing campaign is aimed at breaking down the barriers, which prevent men from engaging. It will use the appropriate language and approach to involve men, encouraging them to take positive action and speak out against this crime. It doesn't portray those who are affected by loan sharks as victims, but shows that they can make a difference in their communities if they do speak out.

Agencies involved in the campaign, along with the University and the England Illegal Money Lending Team include St Helens Borough Council Trading Standards, Bolton Borough Council Trading Standards and housing providers Riverside and Helena Partnerships.

The three winning designs will be presented with a trophy during the event and all of the designs will be displayed at the library until Thursday, 30 May 2013.

Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Environmental Protection and Safer Communities in St. Helens said:- "Illegal Money Lending is a crime which affects an estimated 310,000 households across the UK. Loans sharks typically befriend their borrowers before forcing them to pay back above and beyond what they have borrowed and can afford. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are added at random, and items including passports, bank cards and driving licences are taken as security on the loans. As the debts cannot legally be enforced in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bully tactics."

The England Illegal Money Lending Team are cracking down on this crime, having already secured 222 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related criminal activity, leading to custodial sentences in excess of 150 years. They have written off £40million worth of illegal debts and helped more than 19,000 affected by loan sharks.

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said:- "This is the start of an ongoing national campaign to encourage men to speak out against this crime. Loan sharks can have a horrific impact on individuals and communities, forcing them to pay back exorbitant amounts and leaving people penniless. The campaign is about engaging with the public, men in particular and encouraging them to speak out against this crime. Our hotline is open 24/7 on:- 0300 555 2222 for anyone to report a loan shark to us so we can take action."

Carol Allison Programme Leader for Graphic Design & Photography at Bolton University said:- "Working on this creative brief has been a fantastic opportunity for our students. They have produced a remarkable range of design outcomes that shows the role graphic design plays in communicating complex messages to specific target markets. We look forward to the team's selection and wish to thank them for their valuable input and feedback."

Jim Pollard of the Men's Health Forum said:- "Illegal money lending may not sound like a health issue, but it is - and a serious one. If you don't have a health problem before you see a loan shark you will afterwards. The terrible mental stress and outrageous interest rates have provoked suicides, suicide attempts and heart attacks to say nothing of the more obvious physical dangers that getting involved with loan sharks entails. For sake of your health, and that of those around you, don't do it. If you have money problems talk to Citizen's Advice or a local Credit Union."

To report a loan shark:-

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline:- 0300 555 2222
Text:- 'loan shark + your message' to:- 60003

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