Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach hosted a lively online debate with youngsters from the county’s youth parliament to gauge their experiences of the coronavirus crisis and youth violence.
The PCC took to virtual communication platform for the live Q&A session, involved members of County Youth Council Leicestershire (CYCLe), the elected Youth Parliament members, youth workers, Deputy Commissioner Cllr Kirk Master alongside representatives from the Commissioner’s office and the Violence Reduction Network (VRN).
The ‘You Talk We Listen’ event, which was expertly chaired by youth council member and the UK Youth Parliament Steering Group representative for the East Midlands, Lauren Duguid, was aimed at increasing understanding around young people’s experience of Covid-19 and their feelings about the return to a changing world as well as their concerns about youth crime.
It is part of the PCC’s goal to increase the involvement of young people in decision-making processes and ensure the voice of the younger generation is heard.
Attendees posed a good cross section of questions during the 90-minute meeting including whether the UK would follow Europe and introduce metal detectors in public spaces, whether the police plan to train young people on their rights so they are better informed and how the force intends to approach the increase in crime after lockdown.
Knife crime and the rehabilitation of prisoners were also discussed.
Harry Garner, one of the young people taking part, said: “It was really nice to talk to and ask questions of someone who listens. It was an interesting meeting and I was pleased when the PCC answered my questions.”
Willy Bach, who also sits on the Board of the VRN, said: “Young people are very familiar with virtual technology and felt comfortable and natural discussing the issues of coronavirus and youth crime in this way.
“I’m really grateful for their insight and contribution. Clearly, young people face a number of challenges as we return to a new ‘normal’ and this discussion has given me a good insight into the kind of support provision they might need to help ease that process. They also shared their perspective on violence in our communities which will help guide future intervention work.
“Young people are in the best position to improve life for their peers and should be involved in future decisions that affect them. I will continue to seize opportunities to engage virtually as we continue through this crisis.”
Jane McCormick, from the Family Voice team at Leicestershire County Council, added: “This was a really good Q&A session and an excellent example of a youth-led event. I was really proud of all the young people that took part.”
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Posted on Thursday 28th May 2020