Young people who are passionate about driving improvements in policing have been giving their feedback on how to build trust and confidence in Nottinghamshire Police.
The Youth Independent Advisory Group was launched in January this year to build on the work of the Nottinghamshire Youth Council by giving young people a stronger voice in helping to shape policing decisions locally and to help build better relationships between the force and young people.
Members have already given insights on how the force can use social media – particularly Instagram - to better engage and communicate with young people.
Other suggestions for positive change include updating crime prevention presentations in schools and providing opportunities for young people to attend and observe police officers’ training sessions and give feedback and ask questions.
Meetings have already taken place to discuss those matters with relevant departments and the force will continue working with the group.
The workshops are facilitated by Leaders Unlocked – an organisation that enables young people and underrepresented groups to have a stronger voice on issues that affect their lives and help shape decision-making for the better.
Senior representatives from Nottinghamshire Police, including Chief Superintendent Suk Verma, and members of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, also attend the sessions at the YMCA in Nottingham city centre to take on board the feedback.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “The initiative is just one of a number of ways Nottinghamshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner are trying to help build trust and confidence in the force.
“The importance of this kind of work is made really clear when you consider how police forces nationwide have been shocked and saddened by the outcome of Baroness Casey’s recent review into the Metropolitan Police, which found institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia in the London force.
“It is really important that we remain vigilant to ensure there is no place for discrimination and hate within Nottinghamshire Police and that we continue to work with all sections of the community – including young people – to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in everything we do.
“Trust and confidence in policing in general has taken a dip due to national issues so it is incredibly important that we do everything we can to rebuild it here in Nottinghamshire.”
Chief Supt Verma add that the group had already been a great learning experience.
He said: “This is an important Advisory Group and is one of the ways our young people’s voices can be heard. It allows us to improve the quality of our service and is all about building trust and confidence. Already some of our conversations have been productive and has been a learning experience for us both.”
Kelese Hyacinth, Project Coordinator at Leaders Unlocked, added: “The youth Independent Advisory Group is very important as it allows young people to have a voice and be heard. Our young people are very passionate about these issues relating to policing and crime as it affects them and their peers.
“The group has been very positive for our Youth Commission members and they have all enjoyed participating as they feel they are being taken seriously and that positive changes will be made within their community.
“It also allows young people to see the hard work police officers are doing within their community and helps them to build better trust and relationships between them and the police.
“During meetings, members have spoken about stop and search. Getting information from officers and learning more about the procedure of stop and search has been really useful as the members now feel more confident when speaking about stop and search and also knowing their rights.”
One of the Youth Independent Advisory Group members said the group was having a positive impact. They said: ‘‘My experience has been really interesting and insightful. I feel like through the meetings I have been able to gain more knowledge surrounding the police and have had opportunities to work with other young people to figure out how to share that knowledge with Nottinghamshire youths.’’
Commissioner Henry is due to give an update on the group to the Police and Crime Panel today (Monday 27 March), as part of a round-up on her governance and accountability role.
She will also tell the panel how she and senior Nottinghamshire Police officers met with the Majority of Black Led Churches yesterday (Sunday 26 March) as part of a series of workshops aimed at building trust and confidence with members of the community who may have become disillusioned with the police.
Posted on Monday 27th March 2023