Young people make series of recommendations to address police and crime issues in Wiltshire
Confidence in policing, drug and alcohol abuse, exploitation and online safety are just a few of the issues researched by Wiltshire’s Youth Commission, a group of 14–25 year olds who provide a voice in police and crime matters for young people across the county.
Following their conference held in January, the Youth Commission has now published their annual report and a list of recommendations that will feed into policing and has already helped shape the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Making Wiltshire Safer plan for policing in the county over the next three years.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson said: “The Youth Commission and its members has been invaluable in bridging the gap between young people and the police.
“When it comes to young people, we often find that even with the best intentions, services and initiatives are provided for them, instead of with them and too often we risk ‘missing the mark’ and alienating the very people we are seeking to help. We need young people to tell us how we can best help them and design our support accordingly.
“This youth led project will ensure that this engagement now happens and when it comes to police and crime matters, I will ensure that their incredibly insightful and thought-provoking observations and research are fully implemented in a timely and considered manner.”
The Youth Commission, run by Leaders Unlocked on behalf of the OPCC, was established last year to ensure that young people, including underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, have a stronger voice on issues that affect their lives and directly influence police and crime priorities.
In 2021, members engaged with more than 1400 of their peers across the county who identified and fed back on six key priorities and gave recommendations on the following areas:
Drug and alcohol misuse
Social media and online safety
Relationships with the police
Abuse and violence
Grooming and exploitation
The recommendations will enable Wiltshire Police, the Commissioner, and other agencies, including local authorities, to improve the services and support they offer to young people, ensuring their needs are met.
Wiltshire Police Superintendent, Phil Staynings said: “I found the work of leaders unlocked to be innovative, inclusive and inspirational.
“As the hub commander in Swindon I'm now using some of the recommendations to inform some of our operational activity. This is truly transformative and will empower young people from across the county to confidently offer a voice in helping to shape how policing operates in the future.”
Feedback from some of the Youth Commission members:
I joined the Youth Commission to highlight problems faced by young people that the police can deal with. The thing I have enjoyed the most was working with an amazing group of people who have all been working hard to present the issues and situations that are faced by the youth of today and passing it onwards to the PCC. These are a group of wonderful people whom have not stopped working tirelessly and deserve their hard work to not go unnoticed and for it to be acted upon. The WSYC is highly important as it gives young people a chance to be heard and taken seriously by the police, instead of their problems and beliefs being downturned or ignored. – Jack
I really enjoyed being part of the Youth Commission as it allowed me to meet and interact with young people of all backgrounds and discuss our views on issues we all face. I also enjoyed being around people who were genuinely concerned about the lives of young people instead of the ignorance I come across in my every day life. Being able to discuss my issues has really opened me up and allowed me to feel validated and heard. I know I’ll be able to take skills I’ve learned with the group and apply them to help me tackle issues. – Taniqua