A Brixton police officer received a top honour yesterday for his innovative work with young people from the Stockwell Park Estate.
Sergeant Jack Rowlands, of Ferndale Safer Neighbourhood team, was recognised as a runner-up by the Howard League for Penal Reform for his “outstanding work” with young people.
Rowlands organised two job fairs in Stockwell Park, helping 80 young people get access into employment, training or apprenticeships. Many of the youngsters had a history of offending.
He said yesterday: “I am delighted to have won runner-up, and to know that my work has been judged by young people makes it even more special.”
“I passionately believe in finding ways of supporting young people in making positive changes to their lives. I want to continue with the work that I am doing and continue making a difference.”
Rowlands was selected for the award from a field of six finalists chosen from more than one hundred candidates by members of the Howard League’s U R Boss Project, a programme made up of young people in prison and in police custody.
At the job fairs, Sgt Rowland’s personal invitations and follow up visits meant that the two events were attended by more than three hundred people. Lambeth police have successfully repeated the approach on other estates, and are collaborating with the Department for Work & Pensions to help Hackney hold their first event.
Lambeth borough commander Matt Bell added that Rowlands, his partners, and the Stockwell Park community should be commended for their “tremendously innovative approach”.