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20 January, 2016

Julia Mulligan backs calls by young people for more ‘approachable’ police force in largest ever study of their views on policing

Young people call for police officers to be more ‘approachable’ to under 25s in the largest ever study of young people’s opinions of policing in North Yorkshire, instigated by Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Among its findings, it says that young people want police officers to be more consistent in the way they interact with the age group and for them not to judge on the basis of their age or appearance.

The project was carried out by a North Yorkshire-wide Youth Commission funded by Julia Mulligan in July 2015 and made up of 30 volunteers aged 14 to 25. The young people will present their interim findings at a major event involving police, youth workers and other professionals interested in young people’s thoughts on policing at York CVS in Priory Street on Monday 25 January at 5pm.

Members of the Youth Commission carried out a ‘Big Conversation’ comprising consultation events at colleges, youth clubs and other venues across the county in order to gather the views of more than 1,500 young people. The issues they discussed were:

  • Cyber-bullying and internet safety
  • Hate crime
  • Legal highs and drug abuse
  • Relationships with the police
  • Preventing youth crime
  • Youth vulnerability and exploitation

At the event on Monday, members of the Commission and Julia Mulligan will be joined by North Yorkshire’s deputy chief constable Tim Madgwick.

She said: “I instigated the Youth Commission because it was clear from my work in drawing up the Police and Crime Plan that the views of children and young people were not being heard as they should be. The members of the Commission are all volunteers and I thank them wholeheartedly for getting behind this project with so much enthusiasm.

“It is a first in North Yorkshire. Never before have we heard the views of over 1,500 young people in relation to policing and personal safety. As a consequence, North Yorkshire Police’s strategy for young people will be reviewed and updated. The report also comes at a very pertinent time, when North Yorkshire Police is preparing to increase the money dedicated to protecting children and vulnerable people. This means the police will have more resources available to act on the recommendations made by the Commission. I fully expect them to do so.”

Hannah Ward, aged 23, from Skipton who led the commission’s work on Relationships with Police commented: “Our report sets out our findings so far and reflects what young people tell us they think about the police and policing in North Yorkshire.

“For many young people, it was important that police took a friendlier approach. They felt they wanted officers to interact with them in a more relaxed way and not just when they were issuing warnings.

“They also felt there was a tendency to be judged by their appearance which was something they wanted to change.”

Among their recommendations, the report calls for police to:

  • Work more closely with door staff to reduce drug taking in clubs
  • Take a unified approach to the way they interact with young people
  • Increase police presence in schools
  • Be more approachable and empathetic.

Download the Youth Commission interim report

A final report will be available from March.

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From left to right are Youth Commission members Leigha Maughan, aged 21, student at York St John, who leads on ‘Preventing Youth Crime’; Hannah Ward, aged 23, a sales assistant from Draughton near Skipton, who leads on ‘Relationships with the Police’; and  Samantha Burns, aged 23, a student at York University and volunteer with York Youth Offending Team, who leads on ‘Vulnerable Young People.’
Find out more about the Youth Commission