Paddy Tipping with Maigan, Gabrielle, Brendan and Zion from the Youth Commission
Nottinghamshire’s youngest policing think tank this week (Monday 21 March) lifted the lid on the hopes and fears of the county’s youth when it comes to crime.
Members of the Nottinghamshire Youth Commission presented the findings of a four-month youth engagement project to a packed audience of police and crime reduction partners at Nottingham University.
The ‘Big Conversation’ investigation involved the participation of 1,000 young people and covered six key areas from stop and search tactics and the link between crime and poverty through to drugs, alcohol and sexual harassment and the relationship between police and the younger generation.
Headline findings of the county-wide research include:
- Alcohol and drugs are too accessible to children and young people during their school years.
- Young people are unsure how to access support for drug and alcohol misuse and are not confident reporting situations to the police.
- University students feel unsafe on a night out – particularly young women who receive a lot of unwanted attention.
- Young people believe that stop and search is a legitimate process, but would like to see it conducted with more sensitivity and a clear explanation as to why it is taking place
- Youngsters remain concerned about the potential for racial bias in stop and search.
- Stop and search is a hugely emotional experience and feels “humiliating” and “intrusive”
- Young people don’t always understand the law and don’t always know what they’re doing is illegal.
- More support is needed to stop reoffending including employment and training opportunities
Developed by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, in conjunction with social enterprise firm Leaders Unlocked, the Youth Commission was designed to give young people a bigger voice in policing.
A total of 25 young people including ex-offenders, victims and witnesses of crime, university students, youth workers, journalists, cadets and aspiring police officers currently sit on the panel.
Alongside the feedback, the Youth Commissioners have set out a series of recommendations to Nottinghamshire Police and the PCC on how to tackle the issues worrying the county’s youth.
They include suggestions to help young people put a human face to policing by encouraging greater interaction on social media, in policing surgeries and in leaflets and more involvement in schools and colleges as well as more ‘on the street banter’.
The Youth Commission also recommended further communication work with young people about stop and search rights, particularly in deprived areas, including how to behave and what to expect during a search, as well as the development of more ‘youth-friendly’ mechanisms to enable young people to report crime online and anonymously.
Speaking after the event, Commissioner Tipping said: “What struck me about this whole process was the way the young people had gone out and talked to other young people. I’ve sat in on some of the sessions and I can tell you they’re talking in language they understand and that’s been the strength of it, exploring the issues together and coming up with recommendations for change.
“The full report will be available next month but I’m not going to keep it on a bookshelf - I’m going to work with it. I’m going to keep the Commission going in some form because it’s ok to talk but I want people to judge what we have achieved and most importantly what the Commission and Commissioner have achieved together.”
The full report is due to be published in April and will be available on the Commissioner’s website at: www.nottinghamshire.pcc.police.uk/YouthCommission
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 23rd March 2016