The Commissioner holds the floor at Erewash Youth Forum
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has pledged to do more to combat cyber bullying following a youth engagement event.
Commissioner Charles attended Erewash Youth Forum at Friesland School in Sandiacre on Thursday (April 10) to meet local children aged between 11 and 16 and find out how they feel about policing and community safety.
The forum, which is a partnership project between Erewash Borough Council, Derbyshire County and nine schools and colleges in the Erewash area, is aimed at giving young people an opportunity to contribute to local decision making and ensure the younger voice is heard within policing and local authorities.
Commissioner Charles is very keen to forge closer relationships with young Derbyshire residents to ensure his community safety agenda and the improvements he introduces reflect their needs and views. As part of this aim, the Commissioner has drafted a Youth Plan which sets out a raft of measures to engage with youngsters in the county over the next year including the 2014 Youth Survey and School Grants scheme.
During the Youth Forum event, Mr Charles was presented with the findings of a unique cyber bullying survey carried out for the Erewash Youth Forum, and separate to the Commissioner’s consultation programme, which showed a high number of pupils had been the victim of cyber bullying – some of whom had even been threatened. Asked how on-line bullying made them feel, 5% said there were experiencing suicidal thoughts. (Download the survey here http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/Document-Library/Get-Involved/Youth-Engagement/Cyberbullying-Survey-presentation-for-schools.pdf )
The Commissioner was also asked what he believed to be the biggest challenges facing young people today and his thoughts on how youngsters are portrayed in the media.
Commissioner Charles said: “The Youth Forum event was very beneficial and really opened my eyes to a whole range of issues affecting young people today, particularly cyber bullying which is obviously very much a cause for concern. The survey carried out to explore this issue raised some worrying statistics, including the fact that some pupils feel too frightened to tell anyone about their ordeal and also that a large proportion of young people have access to computers with no parental controls in place.
“Engagement of this nature is very useful in highlighting areas which warrant further attention and I intend to focus very carefully on what can be done to raise awareness of cyber bullying in the future so that we can all work together to eradicate it.
“I was very impressed by the attitude of Forum members and the pertinent questions raised during the meeting. The event typified just how valuable it is to look to young people to help us understand the modern threats facing our communities.”
During the event, attendees were split into workshops where they were able to complete the Commissioner’s Youth Survey. The results will be fed into Mr Charles’ Youth Summit later in the year and will help to steer future community safety work.
Editor Notes: The Commissioner’s Youth Survey can be accessed here http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Community-Engagement-Events/Youth-Engagement-Programme-2014/Youth-Online-Survey.aspx
The Commissioner will also host a Youth Consultation event at Police HQ on 5 June 2014.
Posted on Friday 11th April 2014