Cleveland’s first Youth Commission on Policing and Crime will today (Wednesday 3 March) reveal the results of a major consultation exercise with other young people in the area.
Surveys conducted as part of the ‘Big Conversation’ resulted in over 1,000 responses from young people aged 14 to 25 on a range of key concerns affecting them and their communities.
The Youth Commission identified five priorities for consultation, which they felt most impacted children and young people in Cleveland:
• Hate crime and online crime
• Mental health awareness
• Drugs and alcohol issues
• Youth activities and preventing offending
• Young people and their relationship with the police
A selection of their findings revealed:
• 48% of young people think there has been an increase in hate crime during COVID-19
• More than 86% of young people said the COVID-19 outbreak had negatively impacted their mental health.
• 28% of young people wouldn’t know where to go for help and advice if they experienced issues with drugs and alcohol
• 37% of young people said they would volunteer to run a youth group in their area if it would reduce crime.
• 72% of young people felt they would approach a police officer if they needed help and 64% said they would trust the police to see a report though to conclusion
The feedback also suggests a number of ways in which local leaders can address the issues concerning young people, including better education for professionals and young people, community-based activity and awareness raising campaigns.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Lisa Oldroyd will help host the virtual conference via Zoom. The Commissioner’s office funded national youth engagement experts Leaders Unlocked to establish and co-ordinate the Commission.
Partners and civic leaders, including Cleveland Police’s Chief Constable Richard Lewis, will also attend. Following the conference, the young people will draft a report of their recommendations.
Mrs Oldroyd said: “Crime, policing and community safety affects everyone but Home Office research* shows that the under-25s are more likely to become victims of crime than any other age group.
“Despite this, young people’s views are often under-represented in consultations about crime, anti-social behaviour and community safety.
“It’s time that we started engaging more openly and dynamically with young people to ask about their experiences, feelings, needs and priorities to make them feel safer, more resilient and positive about their life choices and future.
“More open dialogue means we will be more able to take young people’s views into account when planning and funding services – particularly those around helping and protecting victims.”
Youth Commission member Manal Ahmed said: “I am really looking forward to sharing our interesting and beneficial findings.
“As a member of the Commission, I feel like we have gathered up as much evidence as we can in order to voice the opinions of young people who want to strive for a change.
“My experience has been one of the best and the role of the Youth Commission is one of great importance in maintaining the communication between young people and the police. I am extremely grateful to be a part of the entire process!”
Cleveland Youth Commission was launched on World Children’s Day 2020. Members are drawn from all four Cleveland boroughs – Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland – and are from a range of diverse backgrounds between 14-25-years-old.
All Commission meetings and consultations took place virtually or online.