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Nearly two years after their successful launch Norfolk PCC’s team of dedicated Youth Commissioners are continuing to have their say on how to shape policing in the county.
The 39-strong Commission have been taking part in engagement events and training projects across Norfolk to ensure what matters most to young people is reflected in the work carried out by the police.
The Commission, which started in May 2017, enables young people aged 13-25 years to support, challenge and inform the work of the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green and in turn Norfolk Constabulary.
Since the release of their ‘Big Conversation’ report in April 2018 which identified six key priority area including; Journeys through the Justice System, Relationships with the Police, Mental Health, Abusive Relationships, Substance Misuse and Peer Pressure & Social Media the Commission has grown from strength to strength.
They have been involved in a variety of activities and training sessions as well as working with numerous youth organisations across Norfolk including the Prince’s Trust, the Discovery Centre in King’s Lynn and a number of Norfolk Youth Advisory Boards (YAB) in areas including Broadland, Great Yarmouth and South Norfolk.
More recently members have participated in a ‘Make Our Rights Reality’ training session gaining knowledge on young people’s rights and the criminal justice system.
This week also saw a visit by seven commissioners to Norfolk Constabulary’s control room followed by a workshop delivered by local company Curious Spark on journeys through the justice system.
The group were then given a demonstration of Norfolk Constabulary’s police drones by Sergeant Danny Leach.
Praising the work of the Commission, Lorne said: “The dedication and commitment shown by all the young people involved should not be underestimated.
“These are young people who have readily given up their free time to help shape policing in the county while ensuring their peers are given a voice.
“It is vital the voices of Norfolk’s young people continue to be heard and heeded in my office as we work together for a safer Norfolk and I would like to thank them for their continued support.”
The commissioners have also supported the work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPPCN) by attending district Question and Answer sessions hosted by the PCC.
The Youth Commission was established to enable young people to voice their opinions and be heard and they continue to be a communication and engagement tool to maintain a positive relationship between young people in Norfolk, the PCC and the police.
By sharing their views and experiences of crime, policing and criminal justice system, the Commission seeks to ensure local decision-makers not only understand young people’s needs but are also working to meet them.
Norfolk PCC’s YC was the eighth to be set up in the country with Commissions already established in Sussex, Hampshire, North Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire.
You can read the original findings of the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission here.
What the Commissioners said:
Phoebe Moore, 19, from the Norwich area
“Being a Youth Commissioner has helped me to gain confidence in voicing the views of young people, on policing and crime in Norfolk. Collecting opinions from the public and shaping these into recommendations to inform the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner is extremely rewarding.
“I also have the chance to attend a range of useful training events covering topics such as mental health, dementia and domestic abuse. These have given me an insight into different issues present in society which could potentially impact affected individuals’ experience of our justice system.
“I now feel more confident in my own ability to interact with and support those who may be experiencing such problems. This will be helpful in my future career as a lawyer when dealing with vulnerable clients.”
Abigail Huetson, 16, from the Broadland area
“The Youth Commission (YC) has provided me with many great opportunities that I would never have been part of if it wasn’t for the YC, for example when I attended the Make Our Rights Reality day and got to meet and speak to the PCC.
“It’s been a great experience so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed it, everyone is so nice and I have met so many friendly people. It has been a real confidence builder for me.”
Jack Gibbons, 15, from the Great Yarmouth area
“The Youth Commission has taught me a lot about scams and the vulnerability of people after being scammed. It has also taught me how to identify and deal with scammers.
“The YC has also taught me about spotting signs of dementia and all the different types of dementia. I’m enjoying being part of the PCC Youth Commission.
“I enjoy the social gatherings and making new friends within the group which will help me with my social skills after leaving school.
“The YC gives better opportunities to young people to get their voices/opinions heard. I’ve always had an interest in the police since I was little, so being part of the PCC Youth Commission gives me better skills on how to understand and talk to people and the different ways in which to deal with different situations.”