AFTER an impressive first year the Staffordshire Youth Commission has been asked to continue its work for a second year and Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis is now appealing to young people in Tamworth to come forward.
The Staffordshire Youth Commission was established as a pilot project in 2016 to provide 14-25 year-olds with the opportunity to help shape the future of policing.
The unique group immediately identified six areas of concern they wanted to focus on; hate crime and islamophobia, cyber-bullying and safety online, drug and alcohol abuse, stereotyping and trust in the police, knife and gang crime and changing lives away from crime.
Since identifying these priorities the members have gone on to speak with 1,500 other young people across Staffordshire to gain their views and opinions on policing, the criminal justice system and what they feel is important to their generation.
A year’s worth of work cumulated with a ‘Big Conversation’ allowing the Youth Commission to present its findings and recommendations to key organisations and influencers including PCC Matthew Ellis, Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker and representatives from the Princes Trust, YMCA and Staffordshire County Council.
Recommendations included involving Youth Commission members helping police to run online safety sessions with their peers, the OPCC to encourage youth groups, schools and organisations to take part in educational sessions with those who have been directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse and providing more information to employers on criminal records so they can make an educated employment decision based on an individual’s risk of reoffending.
The group 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.
Mr Ellis said: ‘The Staffordshire Youth Commission is a seriously impressive bunch of young people and I was blown away by their insightful and well thought out feedback.
‘I commissioned this group to carry out in-depth work to gain the views of young people but also to involve them in the work to improve the criminal justice system and to shape policing in Staffordshire. I know young people in Tamworth have plenty of opinions and great ideas and we want to hear them.
‘It was fantastic to see the members of the Youth Commission take ownership of this project and come up with some great recommendations to improve relationships with the police.
‘I am incredibly grateful for all their hard work which is why I have commissioned them for a second year and agreed to provide £10,000 to help them put their plans into action. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.’
Deputy Chief Constable, Nick Baker said: ‘It was fantastic to hear the detailed feedback from the Staffordshire Youth Commission. They had some great recommendations on how we can work with young people to get a better understanding of the crimes that particularly worry them, how they view the police and how they suggest we can engage better with young people in the community.’
Rebecca, a Youth Commission member from Stafford said: ‘I joined the Staffordshire Youth Commission after finding out about it during college. I thought that it would be a great experience which would help me towards my goal of being a police officer in the future.
‘During the time that I’ve been a part of this, I have not only developed a better insight into many topics such as hate crime and islamophobia and, drugs and alcohol, it has also taught me more about how it affects people and what impacts they have on society. I feel as though this opportunity has helped me develop many skills such as public speaking and will stay with me on my journey to achieving my career goals.’
If you are interested in joining call 01785 232491 or join in the conversation on twitter using hashtag #StaffsYC.