A new approach to engage with young people across Staffordshire and get their views on policing, crime and the criminal justice system has started.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis, has established a Youth Commission made up of twenty-seven 14 – 25 year-olds as a way to better engage with young people and get them involved in shaping the future of policing.
The first Youth Commission meeting has been held, where participants got to know each other and started the discussions about what they felt was important to young people in Staffordshire. The forum is made up of people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and includes those who have been victims or witnesses of crime, and those with an interest in policing and related fields such as criminology and law.
The Youth Commission are finalising their six priorities based on what they feel are the most important points that affect their age group. They will then meet young people to gain their views on the six priorities. The pilot project will lead to recommendations for police and police leaders.
The priorities set out by the Youth Commission will also support the development and delivery of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer, Fairer, United Communities strategy – www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/saferfairerunited/
The strategy has four clear priorities including Supporting Victims and Witnesses, Early Intervention, Managing Offenders and Reducing Re-offending and Public Confidence.
Over the coming months, members of the Youth Commission will meet and engage with their peers across the county to talk to them about the new priorities that they have set out and find out their views on policing and the criminal justice system.
Mr Ellis said:
The Staffordshire Youth Commission is a seriously impressive bunch of young people and the first meeting of the group was fascinating with lots of ideas to examine.
This approach is about carrying out in-depth work to get the views of young people but also involve young people in the work to improve the criminal justice system and to shape policing in Staffordshire. The Youth Commission is a way for us to hear what young people have to say about crime and what concerns them.
This is about developing conversations with young people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent about crime and what impact it has on their lives.”
Speaking about the first meeting of the Youth Commission, Paris Cunningham, 14, from Stafford, added: “I joined to help people and make them feel safer.”
The Youth Commission is noticeably different to existing young people’s engagement groups across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and will liaise with existing youth engagement structures and youth groups across the County and City.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said:
I look forward to speaking with the young people involved in the Youth Commission project and hearing their views on policing in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The Youth Commission is unique and the core group is formed from diverse communities across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Members of the Youth Commission will also receive training and gain skills and confidence from being part of this pilot project.”
Nick Adderley, Assistant Chief Constable said:
I’m really excited by the opportunity the Youth Commission offers as a platform for young people to have their views heard about policing.
Whether it’s getting a better understanding of the crimes that particularly worry them, or how they view the police, or even their knowledge of how we can reach out more effectively to young people in all our communities, I see an enormous benefit to the police from the work of this Commission.”