A group of young people in Cheshire have produced a report for police leaders detailing how Cheshire Police can improve their engagement with under 25s in the county.
The report by Cheshire Youth Commission was produced following an extensive research base of more than 2,000 conversations with young people across Cheshire over the last year.
They found that knife crime, misuse of social media and hate crime and mental health are just some of the areas of concern for the younger generation.
The report has been welcomed by PCC David Keane and he is encouraging both Cheshire Police and other partners in the criminal justice sector to take on board the recommendations to improve their engagement with young people.
The Youth Commission found that social media leads to many young people feeling threatened and unsafe. Young people who were consulted suggested that it is easier to get away with hate crime and bullying online rather than face-to-face.
It is recommending that it should be made easier for young people to report bullying and harassment to the police and that also schools become more responsible for encouraging young people to report bullying and hate crime.
When exploring young people in Cheshire’s view on mental health, the Youth Commission found that it continues to be an overwhelming concern for young people with many finding it difficult to discuss openly. The young people felt there was a lack of accessible support services, which results in young people looking online to untrustworthy sites for support and guidance.
The Youth Commission is recommending that the PCC and Cheshire Constabulary should be more open about mental health and to actively promote support services and wellbeing classes in order to relieve stress.
In regards to knife crime, the Youth Commission found that young people feel carrying a knife has become normalised and that they do not reflect on the risks associated with carrying a weapon.
They also found that there was a lack of understanding and education around the lasting implications of carrying a knife for personal safety.
They are recommending that education should be delivered by organisations rather than schools. These educational sessions should have hard-hitting messages alongside looking at, and having conversations around, the root causes of knife crime.
PCC 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.”