‘Safe on the streets’ revealed as young people’s top concern at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Conference
22 November 2022
Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has welcomed her Youth Commission’s recommendations on how young people would like street safety, hate and hostility and substance misuse tackled in the future.
Safe on the streets came out as the top concern for young people in the Youth Commission’s Big Conversation survey, with 62% of the 1,614 responses.
Emily Woods, 16, said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe wherever they are and should not be made to feel uncomfortable. As young people, we need to be the ones to make the change now, so the next generation will not have to worry about walking home.”
Hate and hostility came second and substance misuse third. Other issues such as mental health support, domestic violence advocacy and rebuilding trust with the police were also important.
Explaining why they chose hate crime as their priority, Emelie Molin, 24, said: “I chose hate crime because so much of today’s crime originates from hateful and hostile mind-sets. I believe a person with a healthy mind, and healthy values, are less likely to wish harm upon others. Let’s therefore work towards diversity and inclusion, not hostility and isolation.”
On substance misuse, Arthur Hide, 16, said: “I joined the Substance Misuse group because it is a very relevant issue for my local area. It is great to see that the work we as a sub group are doing is helping to increase the safety of young people in my local area and across Hampshire.”
At the conference on Saturday 19 November the Youth Commission put all their recommendations to the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Terry Norton on how these issues could be tackled by the police and partner agencies that work with young people to make the streets safer.
The recommendations set out how young people would like to see organisations work together to make improvements to the safety of young people, as well as more funding for safety projects, education and campaigns on particular crime types, and harsher sanctions for perpetrators.
The top recommendations included:
- Education and raising awareness: More education for young people on what constitutes sexual assault, harassment and stalking, what the consequences are for committing these crimes and the impacts these crimes have on victims. Raising awareness on social media about hate and stopping it at source, and creating campaigns and workshops to advertise the negative impacts of drug abuse.
- More funding and safety initiatives and training: Improve street safety at night by implementing lighting in rural and community areas, together with an increase in security and police presence at these times to prevent crimes. Ask for Angela type schemes should be well known in venues and providing later night buses will ensure there are safe ways to get home. Promote being an up-stander and build a culture of respect.
- Listen to victims and provide support: Look at using harsher sanctions against perpetrators of violence against girls and consider the impact on the victim. This recommendation came from school-aged females in particular who felt that their reports and concerns were often dismissed by schools. The Youth Commission suggested ways in which to enforce harsher sanctions is by having less people being let off on warnings and to make people more aware of the sanctions of committing the crimes before they act. On substance misuse, support for those with addictions was put forward in order for people to discuss their experiences and support each other.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Terry Norton, said: “I would like to thank the young people who have contributed to the development of these recommendations, including members of the Youth Commission, who have given up their free time to consult with their peers, and those young people who have shared their ideas and experiences with them.
“The Police and Crime Commissioner and I want to improve the lives of young people in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight and that includes their experience of crime and interaction with the police and other agencies. We hear loudly and clearly that being safe on the streets is a priority for them, and we agree. Education on certain crime types is also key for them, including the consequences, as well as bespoke support for victims, being listened to, and campaigns which build a culture of respect and advocacy.
“The sharing of these recommendations with the police, local authorities and third sector partners will ensure that the voices of young people are heard by decision makers and partners whose responsibility it is to keep young people safe.”
Within the Recommendation Report some of the Youth Commission members explain what they have learned and achieved over the past year working on the key topics.
To find out more about the Youth Commission and to view the Recommendations Report visit www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/youthcommission