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More than 1600 young people from across the county have had their say on how to shape policing following the introduction of the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission.
The Commission, launched by Lorne Green last year, enables young people aged 14-25 years to support, challenge and inform the work of the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and in turn Norfolk Constabulary.
Norfolk PCC’s YC is the eighth in the country with Commissions already having been established in Sussex, Hampshire, North Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire.
For the past few months members of the 42-strong Commission have been touring the county to engage with other young people about what ‘Matters Most to You?’ – #WMM2U – through the ‘Big Conversation’.
Speaking at today’s Youth Commission conference where Commission members revealed their findings, PCC Lorne Green, said: “When I was elected in May 2016, I promised that I would give every man, woman and young person in Norfolk the opportunity to influence policing and help shape my work as Police and Crime Commissioner.
“To deliver on this promise, I created the first ever Norfolk PCC Youth Commission, ensuring that the views of young people across our county could be heard.
“I asked the youth commission members to identify six key areas within policing and crime that they felt mattered most to young people of Norfolk.”
“I then set the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission the task of going out and speaking to other young people to gather their opinions on those six priorities.
“Youth Commission members have worked hard over the last twelve months, committing hundreds of voluntary hours between them to ensure that as many young people as possible had the opportunity to have their say on policing and crime.
“I am delighted to announce that the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission has gathered the views of over 1,600 young people.
“The voices of Norfolk’s young people are being heard and heeded in my office as we work together for a safer Norfolk.”
The six priorities identified by the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission were:
- Journeys through the Justice System
- Relationship with the Police
- Mental Health
- Abusive Relationships
- Substance Misuse
- Peer Pressure & Social Media
PCC Lorne Green attended today’s conference alongside Deputy Chief Constable of Norfolk Nick Dean, the High Sheriff of Norfolk Charles Watt, local councillors and partner organisations who have worked alongside the young people.
The Youth Commission has been established to enable young people to voice their opinions and be heard. 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.
Through peer research, members take the work being done by the Commission to a wider youth audience, encouraging participation, gathering information and drawing conclusions to inform the recommendations they make to the PCC.
Also speaking at the event, Norfolk’s Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean, said: “The contribution these young people have made should not be underestimated.
“The voice of young people is vital in shaping our communities and the Constabulary and we should never impress how we think it is best to do things.
“I’m very pleased with the report and I’m proud of the young people involved. The views of over 1600 young people need to be recognised.
“They are a real credit to the people of Norfolk and beyond and they should play a key part in the shaping of Norfolk.”
What the Commissioners said:
“The word ‘police’ can seem quite negative to some young people but some of the feedback we got was quite positive about police and helped a lot. I believe young people deserve to have a voice.”
Louise Cooke, 18, added: “The work of the Youth Commission is something I think highly of. I hope it can help other children, as if we understand why they may find it difficult to approach the police we can hopefully try to make their experience better.
“I’m really hoping we can help improve the relationship between police and young people. I hope we can help them to see that police are human, all they do is wear a uniform just like they wear a school uniform, it’s just part of their work and they are approachable.”
Oliver Simons, 21, added: “I hope we can help break down any barriers between young people and the police so that young people feel confident to speak to the police and the police in turn feel more confident to speak to young people, as it’s a two way system.”
You can read the findings of the Norfolk PCC Youth Commission here.