Published on 5th March 2020

Young people in Cheshire have been given the opportunity to present their views to key decision makers on how important issues should be tackled.

Cheshire’s Youth Commission brought together leaders in policing, other public services and the voluntary, charitable and youth sectors at their annual conference held at Cheshire police HQ in Winsford last night (Wednesday 4 March).

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It follows their consultation with more than 2,000 young people in the county to establish what matters most to under 25s when it comes to keeping their communities safe.

Youth Commission ambassadors have visited schools, colleges, universities, youth groups and community centres across the county to give young people a voice.

They identified a set of priorities to focus their discussions which this year included; knife crime, mental health, social media and hate crime, relationships, substance misuse and the police use of stop and search.

Youth Commission member, 18 year-old Chloe Roberts who lives in Chester, said: “I have been a member of the Cheshire Youth Commission for the last two years and it has enabled me to build my confidence and learn new skills.

“Within this time, we have been given fantastic opportunities including listening to the opinions of inmates at HMP Thorn Cross and HMP Altcourse, being able to scrutinise police work and being able to be the voice and represent the young people of Cheshire.

“We hear so many interesting and sometimes difficult stories from young people, and are sometimes the first people they have opened up to about their experiences. This is why the project is so important”

The group presented their findings to a packed room of leaders, including the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable, and asked them to pledge to take young people’s views on board when making key decisions which affect them.

The Youth Commission is administered by PCC David Keane’s office. Their works enables the commissioner to ensure that young people’s views are represented in local policing.

He said: “I am really proud of the work of our Youth Commission. Once again, they have done an outstanding job capturing the views of a diverse range of young people across our communities.

“The conversations they have directly with young people allow me to ensure the decisions I make in policing and criminal justice have young peoples’ best interests at heart.

“I’m looking forward to receiving the Youth Commission’s final report and working with partners to implement the recommendations so we can ensure the services we provide are relevant and accessible to all young people across Cheshire.”

As well as carrying-out consultation events all over Cheshire, the Youth Commission also play a vital role giving Cheshire police advice on key issues through their Youth Advisory Group. Topics they’ve advised on this year include road safety, knife crime and cyber security.

Ali Roberts, regional project manager of social enterprise Leaders Unlocked who coordinate the Youth Commission, added: “The Cheshire Youth Commission continues to grow and offer a platform for youth voice and representation in the region.

“As well as our consultation with more than 2000 young people in Cheshire, the Youth Commission members are included as youth representatives on panels such as the Independent Advisory Group, Police Scrutiny Panel and the Cheshire Anti-Bulling Commission.

“We also hold a Youth Advisory Group (YAG) every six weeks which gives the young people a chance to scrutinise police work, suggest changes and work together to include youth perspective.”