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Youth activists at forefront of national police study

Posted onPosted on 23rd Jul

Youth ambassadors from Nottinghamshire have contributed to a national research project examining the way policing has been perceived among young people during the coronavirus.

Members of Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping’s Youth Commission took part in the Policing the Pandemic Project – a youth survey across England and Wales measuring the response to policing during the pandemic and the concerns of young people on crime.

The study, led by social enterprise firm Leaders Unlocked, which manages Nottinghamshire’s Youth Commission, surveyed 3,941 young people aged 13-25 across England and Wales in May and June.

The findings were published in a report and showed many young people feel there has been a failure by government to provide clear and consistent information during the pandemic, which makes policing more difficult.

The survey also revealed concerns among young people about racial disproportionality within policing and a lack of active engagement as well as concerns about stop and search tactics and police “over-reaching” their powers. Many young people said there was a lack of information or clarity when they were being stopped or dispersed.

Despite crime falling during the pandemic, more than one in ten young people felt less safe during lockdown and many said they had not felt mentally well during the coronavirus. Some also felt unsafe in their home. These factors, in some cases, led young people to leave their home and break the lockdown rules.

Responding to the report, Mr Tipping said: “I congratulate all of my Nottinghamshire Youth Commission leaders who contributed to this very important research.

“Covid-19 has changed our lives in so many ways and it’s important we take time to learn from the experience and understand how these unprecedented times have impacted on young people specifically.

“Alongside coronavirus, the tragic death of George Floyd in the US and the subsequent Black Lives Matters movement has drawn attention to racial injustice on a scale never before seen. We must listen to the voices of our youth and give them a stronger role in defining the future.”

The project, which was supported by the National Police Chiefs Council, has produced 11 recommendations for change, all of which have been devised by the young leaders involved in the study.

Nottinghamshire Youth Commission member Jack Heald said: “Working on the Policing the Pandemic report was a fantastic opportunity to make sure that the voices of Nottinghamshire’s young people are heard during these unprecedented times.

“It was a great opportunity to talk to and learn from the experiences of other young people from across England and Wales. We were able to create some really powerful recommendations on how policing can improve, in the coming months and beyond.

“Projects such as these, which empower young people, are really important in improving and reinforcing the police’s relationship with young people. I’m really eager to see how the Police and Crime Commissioner and Nottinghamshire Police respond to our recommendations.”

Fellow Youth Commission member Amy Shergill added: “I am really pleased that I was given the opportunity by the Nottinghamshire Youth Commission to be a part of Policing the Pandemic Project.

“Being a part of the project has made me more aware to issues young people have towards the police and wanting their voices to be heard. It was really impressive to see officers from different forces come together to engage in this current issue.”

Among the recommendations put forward by the youth leaders is new police training on racial bias and vulnerability, in-depth scrutiny on arrests, fines and searches involving young people and for the police to take a clearer stance on police brutality.