The Cumbria Youth Commission provides young people in Cumbria with a unique opportunity to work alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, allowing them to jointly address issues important to them.
The Cumbria Youth Commission enables young people to support, challenge and voice young people’s opinions from across Cumbria, helping to shape policies and influence decisions that affect them.
The aim of establishing Cumbria Youth Commission is so that the Police and Crime Commissioner can work in partnership with young people to;
- Address the most urgent priorities effecting young people.
- Enhance the county’s response to matters relating to policing and crime and their effects on young people.
- Train peer educators and researchers to provide peer education to young people on the priority areas and to gain their views on the issues.
- Work alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner to help develop the response and approach to young people for the Police and Crime Plan and advise on the commissioning of services aimed at children and young people.
- As much as possible, to bring together learning from existing work within the county on the priority issues to enhance the working knowledge of the Cumbria Youth Commission and avoid duplication.
- To support and challenge the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Initially, the Cumbria Youth Commission (CYC) was established by Young Cumbria in April 2017 and their first report can be read here Cumbria Youth Commission first year report
From 1st April 2019, Leaders Unlocked continued to develop the work with the Youth Commission.
During 2019-2020, the Cumbria Youth Commission have continued to consult with people aged 14-25 years across Cumbria, asking their views on what they believe to be the key priority topics for the police to consider when supporting young people, called the ‘Big Conversation’. Their aim has been to enable young people to express their ideas and inform decisions about policing and crime prevention in Cumbria.
Abuse, mental health, hate crime and drug/alcohol abuse, their four key priority topics, have been discussed with young people at various engagement events; ranging from visits to educational settings such as workshops at Cumbria University, various county Pride marches, careers fairs and special community events such as Penrith’s Winter Droving.
In 2019-2020, having gathered meaningful views from 1629 young Cumbrians, the Youth Commissioners presented their findings and recommendations to Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, County Councilors, Educational Heads and representatives from Public Health at the ‘Big Conversation’ conference in February 2020.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall comments: “When I was elected in 2016, I promised that I would give everyone in Cumbria ‘a voice’ and the Youth Commission’s ‘Big Conversation’ has produced some powerful and hard-hitting opinions about local communities, the police and public safety of young people in the county.
“I am delighted that they also targeted difficult to reach groups, for example gathering views from young people living in isolated areas of Cumbria, young people who are carers and young past offenders in their findings.
“Some of the open and honest comments captured included young people witnessing unhealthy relationships within the family home and how this affected their mental health, long waiting times for an initial appointment to access mental health support and how in some areas across Cumbria, drugs and alcohol are extremely accessible, even from a very young age.
“It’s important that the views of young folk are heard but vital that we act on their findings and recommendations. I will certainly be using their views, opinions and suggestions to help shape the countywide agenda on supporting victims, reducing crime and protecting the vulnerable in the county.”
Read the Cumbria’s Youth Commission Report 2020 here.
After the ‘Big Conversation’ conference in February 2020 and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PCC elections were postponed until 2021.
As with so many things, youth engagement has adapted and some examples during the Covid-19 pandemic are included below:
Other examples include the Commissioner joining Cumbria Young farmers at the AGM Northern district meeting, hosting online focus group meetings with Copeland Youth network and Cando FM radio volunteers in Barrow and recording a video message for the summer virtual Cumbria Pride event.
Over the next few months we are developing areas that the recommendations provided as part of the ‘Big Conversation’ and looking at how this work can overlap and compliment that of the Constabulary’s Child Centered Policing team, the Community Support Officers and Citizens in Policing.