The SHM Foundation collaborated with a number of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to develop an innovative pilot project to allow PCCs to work in partnership with young people to tackle urgent priorities such as reducing re-offending, hate crime, drug and alcohol abuse, trust in the police force, and anti-social behaviour.
Crucially, the Youth Commission pilot has enabled young people to become a part of the solution, rather than being seen as part of the problem.
The PCCs in Leicestershire, Hampshire and Sussex all signed up to pilot the Youth Commission model in their respective police force areas. These PCCs embraced the opportunity to work in a new way with young people in order to address some of the key priorities in their Police and Crime Plans.
The Youth Commission allows young people aged 14-25 to act as partners to their Police and Crime Commissioners. The model involves recruiting a representative group of 20-25 young people from a force area, and equipping them with the tools to become partners to their PCC and advocates for other young people. The Youth Commission group in each police force area is undertaking a ‘Big Conversation’ to engage a further 2,000 young people in giving their views on the most urgent priorities. Importantly, the Youth Commission helps PCCs to reach young people who would be less likely to engage through traditional forms of consultation.
Following the success of the pilots, the Youth Commission model has been taken up in new regions, including North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. The vision is to replicate the Youth Commission across police force areas in England and Wales, and to enable this way of working to become embedded in a sustainable way at the local level.
From 2015, the Youth Commission is being taken forward by a new not-for-profit social enterprise called Leaders Unlocked. Leaders Unlocked specialises in engaging young people and under-served groups. To find out more about Leaders Unlocked and the progress of the Youth Commission programme, please go to www.leaders-unlocked.org