Representatives from key organisations across Cheshire including Cheshire police, other public sector bodies and those from the voluntary, charity and youth sectors have attended an event to hear the views of young people on policing and crime.
The Big Conversation Conference provided the opportunity for members of the Cheshire Youth Commission to feed back on their extensive consultation with more than 2000 young people in the county.
The Youth Commission was set-up by Cheshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) in 2016 to give young people a voice and the ability to influence key decision makers in policing, criminal justice and beyond. This year, it recruited an additional 37 members.
Youth Commission member 18-year-old Curtis Rae from Macclesfield said: “The Cheshire Youth Commission has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience that has given me a much more detailed idea of what policing in Cheshire actually involves, especially in regards to the efforts that the police put in in order to make positive changes and progress in tackling issues such as knife crime and drug abuse.
“It has been a truly educational experience that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in making a positive change to policing and public safety in Cheshire.”
Youth Commission ambassadors have visited schools, colleges, universities, youth groups and community centres across the county to give young people a voice.
The Youth Commission identified a set of priorities which affect them and their peers including; unhealthy relationships, mental health, staying safe online, substance abuse, hate crime and diversity and policing and young people.
They gathered young people’s views on these topics and presented their findings to more than 80 representatives from key organisations in Cheshire, including PCC David Keane, chief constable Darren Martland and the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs.
Mr Keane, said: “With more than a quarter of Cheshire residents under the age of 25, it is vitally important that young people have the ability to have their say on the issues which matter most to them.
“Youth Commission members have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months to capture of the views of as many young people as possible. I am incredibly proud of their work.
“I now look forward to receiving their final report which details the outcomes of the consultation. This will enable me to work with key partners to ensure the Youth Commission’s recommendations are implemented to ensure the services we deliver are relevant and accessible to young people across Cheshire.”
Members of the Youth Commission have also been involved in a number of other important activities over the last 12 months. This has included sitting on an external stakeholder panel for the chief constable’s recruitment, producing a short film to make people aware of their rights during a ‘stop and search’ and taking part in lay observations with front line officers.
Ali Roberts, programme coordinator of social enterprise Leaders Unlocked who coordinate the Youth Commission, is proud of their achievements over the last year. She added: “Cheshire Youth Commission focuses on peer to peer research, giving those from the most diverse backgrounds the opportunity to share their opinions on policing and crime and put forward recommendations for change.
“It’s been a brilliant journey for all of the members involved in the Youth Commission. We have members who have returned year-on-year and many new members who have all equally dedicated time and effort to the project. The conference was a brilliant afternoon and offered the opportunity to showcase all of the hard work and dedication of the Youth Commission.
“It was great to see so many partners attend the conference to listen to the findings of the research, and we continue to appreciate and thank PCC David Keane and the constabulary for their continued support and genuine passion for the Youth Commission.”