Posted on 30th May 2019

A report to Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) produced by young people is highlighting the key issues for under 25s in the county.

The report by Cheshire Youth Commission was produced following a consultation with more than 2,000 young people across Cheshire. They found that hate crime, unhealthy relationships and the misuse of social media are just some of the areas of concern for the younger generation.

PCC David Keane is welcoming the report which gives recommendations to him, Cheshire Constabulary and partner agencies about how they can improve their services to ensure they are relevant and accessible to young people across Cheshire.

The Youth Commission found that social media can play a big part in the mental health of young people and many felt that negative content on sites like Facebook and Instagram was a contributing factor to poor mental health.

It is recommending that both Cheshire Constabulary and the PCC should work with their partners to actively promote mental health through their social media channels to reduce stigma and make young people realise they are not suffering alone.

It also found that there was a lack of understanding amongst young people of what a hate crime is and how to report it, which is leading it to recommend the constabulary do more to promote diversity to encourage more young people to report hate crime.

The report also details how young people do not fully understand what an unhealthy relationship looks like and the Youth Commission is recommending that the PCC and constabulary should do more to highlight the dangers of coercive relationships.

Other recommendations in the report include the constabulary and PCC taking part in more engagement work with schools and colleagues to talk openly about their concerns.

David Keane said: “With more than a quarter of Cheshire residents currently under the age of 25, it’s incredibly important that young people are given the opportunity to have their say on key policing issues which have a huge impact on their everyday lives.

“The Youth Commission has done a fantastic job of capturing as many views as possible from our diverse communities in order to produce a report which is crucial in highlighting what matters most to our young people.

“I now look forward to working with the chief constable and other key partners to ensure the issues highlighted in this report are addressed and we improve the services we deliver to young people across Cheshire.”

Following the publication of the report, the commissioner and Cheshire Youth Commission coordinators Leaders Unlocked are looking to recruit the latest cohort of young ambassadors to sit on the Cheshire Youth Commission 2019/20.

Anyone aged 14-25 who lives, studies or works in Cheshire is able to apply to be on this year’s Youth Commission, giving them the chance to lead this year’s consultation and also advise on key policing decisions.

Ali Roberts, programme coordinator of the Cheshire Youth Commission, said: “Joining the Youth Commission is a fantastic opportunity for any young person interested in policing or criminal justice who wants to make a real difference to their community.

“Successful applicants will not only have the opportunity to conduct one of the biggest consultations with young people in Cheshire, they’ll also be able to get a behind the scenes look at policing operations.

“Last year, our young people were given the opportunity to produce a short film on police stop and search, take part in lay observations with front line officers and sit on the external stakeholder panel during the recruitment of the new chief constable.

“This year, we plan to open up even more opportunities for Youth Commission members to be involved directly in key policing activities and put forward their recommendations for change.”