PCC pictured at school (taken before pandemic) Image supplied by OPCC

Young people across Bedfordshire to have their say on policing

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has marked International Youth Day (12 August 2020) by enabling young people to have their say on policing in the county.

The Bedfordshire Youth Council (BYC), which is overseen by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), aims to ensure that young people are heard, understood and responded to on policing and community safety matters.

BYC is launching monthly subject areas, calling on young people to contribute. The first topic, chosen by local youth network At10tive is understanding what information police need to share when stopping and searching individuals and the respectful manner in which such searches need to be conducted. The PCC said:

“First of all we all too often police young people without hearing from them and their peers directly, which is why the BYC will be so important for Bedfordshire Police. Secondly, a host of myths and misconceptions have built up around Stop and Search and how the process is carried out by police.

“It’s hugely important that our young people understand that officers conduct searches according to strict criteria and always have to explain why someone has been stopped – what police are looking for – as they have to have a genuine belief that an individual is carrying a weapon or drugs at the time.”

In direct response to feedback received from existing networks for young people, the BYC is to be an online forum. So young people in Bedfordshire can get involved without having to come to scheduled meetings or travel to different areas across the county.

Meetings will be held on Instagram with the branding and on-line imagery designed by different networks of young people from communities across Bedfordshire.

Using Instagram means that young people can vote on polls, input suggestions on policies and learn more in their own time about the various subject areas, which will be advertised. They will start the conversations, participate and call out for action or information.

Bedfordshire Police’s Superintendent for Community Policing, Jacki Whittred, said:

“It’s so important we engage with and listen to the young people of Bedfordshire. Their input is hugely valuable to policing and it’s great we are able to now provide them with a platform, which is online and accessible to all, to have their say, raise issues and learn more about policing. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they have to say”.

The Bedfordshire Youth Council vision to engage with young people throughout Bedfordshire, aged between 13 and 17 allowing them to:

  • Speak directly with decision makers to “youth proof” policies, protocols and strategies
  • Provide advice to Bedfordshire Police to help monitor and improve the quality of the policing service being delivered and help officers and staff understand issues that affect young people
  • Build relationships between police, young people and the community via social media
  • Have their voice heard and express views openly and honestly in a constructive way
  • And in turn, raise the profile of young people within our countywide community.

For more information on the Bedfordshire Youth Council, visit the OPCC website

For the Bedfordshire Youth Council (BYC) Instagram page, visit here