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Commissioner Meets the 'Experts' at Youth Police and Crime Forum

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PCC Barry Coppinger and Temporary Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer meet members of the Cleveland Youth Forum

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger will today be underlining his commitment to ‘listen to the experts’ when it comes to making decisions on services for young people.

He will be meeting with representatives of the Cleveland Police and Crime Youth Forum, set up earlier this year to work with both the Commissioner and the Force to ensure that the needs and concerns of young people are taken into account.

Amongst the issues he will be discussing will be the findings of a survey conducted by the Forum and looking at ways in which the PCC can engage with young people.

Says Barry Coppinger “During the PCC election campaign I backed the campaign by the Howard League for Penal Reform to consult with young people in developing Police and Crime Plans and I am delighted that the Youth Forum provides a way of turning that pledge into reality.

“From my past experience in a number of roles, including as an Executive Member for Community Protection and Chair of a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, I understand how complex the challenges of tackling services for young people can be.

“It isn’t just a question of dealing with those who do provide so many problems through anti-social behaviour and crime, because it is equally important to ensure that we do everything possible to divert young people from getting involved in the first place, at the same as recognising that there are very many who would never offend but can get a bad name because of the actions of a minority.

“Of course we need to work closely with all those involved in the different agencies but I know that simply handing down solutions from above will not work and what we have to do is to look at all possible ways of engaging with the real experts and that’s young people themselves.”

The Forum has been set up with support from Safe in Tees Valley and initiatives have included training a team of ‘Community Reporters’ who have been involved in consulting young people across local communities, schools, colleges and youth services.

Findings from the survey conducted by the Forum included:

  • Almost 80 per cent of respondents said they generally felt safe and over 70 per cent were happy with their local police.
  • More street patrols, facilities for young people, better street lighting and CCTV were identified as methods of increasing feelings of safety.
  • Measures suggested for preventing young people becoming involved in anti-social behaviour included more activities for young people, preferably free of charge or cheap…and the idea of designated ‘graffiti walls’ were seen as a good idea for allowing young people to express themselves without it being classified as criminal damage.
  • Ideas for young people to make a contribution to tackling anti-social behaviour and crime included voluntary work in their local communities, ensuring incidents are reported to the police…and using young people as ambassadors to get across crime prevention messages.

 

Posted on Wednesday 5th December 2012
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