A project that enables young people including underrepresented groups to have a stronger voice on the issues that affect their lives has been launched in Wiltshire and Swindon.

Wiltshire’s first-ever Youth Commission will empower young people aged 14-25 to feedback on policing, crime and community safety issues to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon.

The project, run by Leaders Unlocked on behalf of the OPCC, will be recruiting up to 30 young people from across the county over the next month.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for young people across the county to give their views and opinions on policing ahead of a new PCC taking office in August,” said Kieran Kilgallen, Chief Executive of the OPCC.

“A priority in the current police and crime plan is to secure a trusted and efficient police force and the Youth Commission will give us a measure of how young people perceive the police, but also inform the new PCC’s police and crime plan for their term in office.

“This project will ensure that young people and underrepresented groups have a say in how their communities are policed and how key issues they identify should be tackled.

“It is vital that the public are able to raise their concerns and feelings about policing. The Youth Commission will also add to the number of ways in which the OPCC engages with residents, of all ages, across the county.” 

It is hoped the new Youth Commission will meet for the first time in July and all members will be given appropriate training before hosting a conference at the beginning of 2022 and presenting recommendations to key decision-makers to improve policing in Wiltshire.

Leaders Unlocked provides young people with a platform to influence decisions about policing and crime prevention. In partnership with a number of OPCCs nationally, they have developed the Youth Commission model to enable young people to inform policing decisions in their regions.

Kaytea Budd-Brophy, Leaders Unlocked said: “We are really excited to be working on this peer-led project with young people from Wiltshire and Swindon. The Youth Commission will conduct peer-to-peer conversation with young people in the county, Including voices from underrepresented and marginalised groups.”

“We welcome applications from young people whose voices aren’t usually heard who want to make a difference to their community. We look forward to showcasing the findings of the Youth Commission work at The ‘Big Conversation’ conference in January 2022.”

To find out more about the project and how to apply, please visit Youth Commission (wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk). Applications deadline 25th June 2021