Commissioner Consults with Young People About Policing Priorities (31 Jan 2013)

Young people in the city are being given the chance to help in the fight against crime by joining forces with the new West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mark Burns-Williamson was at Leeds City College yesterday (Wednesday, 30 January) to hear from a group of students from the region about their policing priorities, and to look at how they could work together to tackle their concerns, including an idea of setting up a youth advisory body.

"Young people have as much of a right as any other group in the community to have their voices heard and I want to make sure they receive a policing service that meets their needs," Mark said.

The event, organised by the SHM Foundation, provided an opportunity for students, aged 16-25 from Leeds City College, Leeds University, Leeds Met, Bradford College and Queensbury School, to present the findings from research carried out with young people in West Yorkshire during the lead up to the police and crime commissioner election in November.

The research revealed that the top policing issues for young people were police presence, drug crime, theft, misuse of power and discrimination, and efficiency and effectiveness.

"In the run up to the election I attended hustings in Leeds and Bradford organised by the SHM Foundation, as part of its 'Force Forward' campaign to get young people involved in the police and crime commissioner elections," Mark said.

"Today I finally got to hear the results of the research that ran in parallel to the hustings and heard for myself the experiences of the young people present about being policed. I was pleased that they spoke so freely and shared their experiences and opinions."

"I will continue to meet with young people to listen to what is important to them when it comes to policing and what issues affect them when it comes to the fight against crime."

The Commissioner said he now planned to ask a question as part of the interviews for a new Chief Constable today (Thursday) compiled from the ideas and priorities which had resulted from engagement with young people across the region.

Rose Dowling, of The SHM Foundation said: "This is a great example of how police and crime commissioners can work in partnership with young people to improve policing and crime. Moving forward we hope to encourage more Commissioners around the country to work in this way."

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