Warrington school pupils James Hyde and Damien Dooley are two of the recent recruits to Cheshire’s Youth Commission on Police and Crime – an innovative pilot project that is helping to shape the way the Cheshire Constabulary tackle issues affecting young people.
Damien and James, both aged 14, attend Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School in Warrington. They have made sure that abusive relationships is a key topic for discussion by the Cheshire Youth Commission, an initiative funded by the Police & Crime Commissioner.
They both want to see young people have their say on a wide range of types of abuse as the Youth Commission carries out its ‘Big Conversation’ with young people aged 14 to 25 across Cheshire. This is a unique process of peer-to-peer research, which is set to deliver honest responses from young people across the county.
“I joined the Youth Commission because I wanted to help young people in my area have a voice about police and crime and help the views of young people influence the way police do their job,” said James.
“As members of the Youth Commission, we have all come together to agree the subjects that we want to consult young people about in the year ahead. For example, when asked about the problems in their areas, young people mentioned abusive relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, and the police’s relationship with people.”
“Abusive relationships is one of the topics and both Damien and myself are keen to see discussed as part of that. It’s something we both feel strongly about because it happens a lot and we are concerned about the effects abusive relationships have on children. We want Cheshire Youth Commission to help young people to feel encouraged to speak out and to let them know they are not alone. ”
“As a Youth Commission member I’ve really enjoyed going out and talking to other young people about the experiences they or their friends have had. It’s a lot easier for a young person to talk to another young person, as they don’t feel intimidated. The Youth Commission is a great idea because it gets the word out and lets young people know they are being listened to.”
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “It is crucial that Cheshire residents have a voice in policing and crime and Cheshire Youth Commission has a big part to play in making sure young people are heard.”
Mr Keane said: “I am using their feedback to support the development of the Police & Crime Plan and look forward to hosting the final conference in October, where the Commission Members will present their findings to myself, the Chief Constable and partner agencies.”
I joined the Youth Commission because I wanted to help young people in my area have a voice about police and crime and help the views of young people influence the way police do their job