Young people across Derbyshire have opened up about their safety fears in one of the largest-ever youth consultations to be carried out in the county.
Results from the year-long engagement project show the majority of young people (43%) in the county believe ‘gun crime and gangs’ should be top of the policing agenda, followed by ‘missing children’ (42%) and ‘child abuse and child exploitation’ (41.7%).
‘Drug taking’ and ‘human trafficking’ were also within the top five at 39.6% and 31.9% respectively.
The results are in contrast to the comparative adult consultation Over to You which saw respondents choose ‘burglary’ as their highest priority for policing.
When asked what they would most like to improve about policing, the majority of young people said more officers/patrols on the street (45%), followed by being more approachable (38.3%) and not being judgemental of young people (35%).
The joint engagement project, which was carried out between October 2013 and October 2014 by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles and Derbyshire Constabulary, was designed to highlight the younger voice on a number of key policing issues.
Despite being often regarded as the cause of crime and anti-social behaviour, a disproportionate number of young people are actually victims of crime. Commissioner Charles is keen to understand how crime affects young people in the county in order to reduce the number of victims and also the number of young entrants into the Criminal Justice System.
Commenting on the engagement results, Commissioner Charles said: “The information we have collected during the 12 months of this project will be hugely valuable in setting the agenda for future crime prioritisation. In fact, we are already working hard to address some of the areas highlighted by these young people. This has included preventative education and messaging to schoolchildren to address the risks of child exploitation.
“Young people have a lot to teach us about solving the kind of crime problems which confront them every day and it’s vitally important that policy makers not only empower young people to use this voice but that they also listen to the intelligence they are providing us with.
“Policing serves young people as much as it does the older generation and I take my responsibility to involve young people in the improvement process very seriously. We will now use this information to ensure our safety strategies continue to reflect the needs of everybody who accesses our services and help us to deliver better outcomes for the younger generation.”
During the engagement project, 40 separate events were held across Derbyshire specifically focusing on the 11 to 24 age group. These events were supported by members of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams and a range of partners including those from local charities and youth-focused groups.
A youth survey was also developed to extend the scope of the project and attract feedback from a wider audience.
Among the events organised was the Amelix School E-safety and Alcohol Awareness musical roadshow, funded by the Commissioner, which ran between April and June 2014 to deliver key crime prevention messages to children aged between 11 and 16. The roadshow was performed at 18 secondary schools across the county and city and incorporated the Commissioner’s Youth Survey.
A consultation event focusing on the areas of E-safety, restorative justice and Stop and Search was also held at Ripley Police HQ which was attended by more than 100 young people.
In total, 3,270 Youth Survey questionnaires were completed, mostly from the 11-15 age range. The results were shared with partners at the Commissioner’s Youth Summit in September and will now influence strategic work as part of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.
The full results of the survey and engagement work are available on http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 4th February 2015