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8 February, 2019

Youth Commission challenged to takeover the police, fire & rescue and the CPS

On 23 November young people across the country took part in the ‘Takeover Challenge’, a scheme established by the Children’s Commissioner for England giving young people new experiences and responsibilities.

It was to be a day of opportunity for North Yorkshire Youth Commission members – a group of 14 to 25 year olds from across  North Yorkshire with an interest in issues relating to Police and Crime.

The Commission’s young members were set to take over a number of authority roles, to see inside the working world of the people who do important jobs in North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.

As well as gaining unique experience of a workplace, the Youth Commission members were tasked with feeding their thoughts and reflections back to their peers and public through accessible social media channels.

Between  2016 and 2018,  Youth Commission members embarked on a journey of peer-to-peer research, to find out the issues that mattered the most to young people across North Yorkshire within the context of Police and Crime. The Youth Commission collected over 3500 responses face-to-face in youth settings and online.

As a result of the young people’s views they set six awareness raising campaign priorities for the coming year.

One of the priorities highlighted was to explore and improve ‘Young People’s Relationship with the Police and Authorities’. As relationships are a two-way process, young people decided that they would need to get a closer look at how the Police and other Authorities work and how their influence in young people’s lives plays out.

The Youth Commission’s Takeover Day experience provided an ideal opportunity to achieve this and consisted of three elements:

  • Operational experiences such as shadowing briefings, attending events, bite sized project work and decision making
  • Interviewing the placement host about their motivations, core competences needed for the role and how they were acquired
  • The creation of reflective campaign media attempting to celebrate or improve any issues affecting young people’s relationships with authority.

Youth Commission member Joseph Massey spent the day with North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service at their Headquarters and operational centres in Northallerton.

He experienced the workings of the service from different perspectives, from the finances and control room to the vehicles and kit.

Joseph was impressed with what he saw:

“All the roles in the team are seen as equally important so they all work together to get the job done and to respond to an emergency”

Joseph also had the chance to get involved in some live simulated training exercises.

“If people knew how much time and effort goes into the training for the roles to keep us safe then it would really help.

“The fire service get a lot of hoax calls. It’s a problem because if they have an engine called out, the next engine might be 30 minutes away, so if there is a real fire the building may have burned to the ground by the time they get there”

Joseph completed the day by interviewing Phil Whild, Area Manager and Head of Risk Management, who said:.

“My role is very relevant to young people, particularly the Prevention and Protection Section.

“This is heavily focussed on influencing and educating young people to behave and operate safely in everything they do, in the hope that they will adopt these principles into adulthood and throughout the rest of their lives, and that they will pass on these principles to relatives, friends etc.

“Today I have learnt the importance of understanding young people, and that there are many benefits and opportunities of tapping into the thoughts and feelings of young people with a view to designing the services which the fire service provides.”

Many thanks to Jez Rushworth and Shelley Mattocks from North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and the many other people who contributed their time to make this day a success.

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