A search has been launched to find young people to take part in a ground-breaking initiative to help draw up a new plan for policing North Wales.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones is looking for a team of 30 aged between 14 and 25 to become members of Wales’ first Youth Commission which will be overseen by his deputy, Ann Griffith.
The Youth Commission will be consulted over the policing priorities for North Wales, particularly as they affect young people.
The members will be trained by Leaders Unlocked, a specialist social enterprise organisation that works with young people across the UK and which has been running eight similar schemes across England since 2013.
Recruitment is open now with information and application forms in English and Welsh available and the intention is to appoint the Youth Commissioners from across North Wales by the end of July to begin their training in August.
The deadline for applications is July 29th and the successful applicants will be drawn from all sectors of society, including young people who have had brushes with the law, and with a representative Welsh language presence.
The first meeting of the new Youth Commission is scheduled for August 16 and Kaytea Budd-Brophy, a senior manager with Leaders Unlocked and a former Lecturer said: “The Youth Commission will work in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner and North Wales Police to identify and tackle urgent issues affecting young people in North Wales.
“They might be relationships with the police, hate crime, the problem of county lines and the drugs trade, mental health and staying safe online or reducing youth offending.
“The young people themselves will decide which issues to raise and which solutions to suggest.”
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Griffith, who has a lead responsibility for young people as part of her role, said: “This is a ground-breaking scheme and one that I am delighted that North Wales is pioneering in Wales.
“We want to establish a sustainable, structured system for young people aged 14-25 to influence decisions about policing and crime in North Wales.
“It is important that we involve young people and listen to them to get their perspective on the crime and social issues they face. This is one of the ways that North Wales Police and the Commissioner’s Office are applying a children’s rights approach in line with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
“We need to listen to young people and get their perspective on the issues they face and take them into account rather than just imposing our own views on them.”
The appointment of the Youth Commission will be a two-stage process with application forms available from the website of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/Working-in-Partnership/Youth-Commission.aspx
The candidates need to include a sponsor on their applications, a named professional they have asked and who could be a teacher, youth worker, manager, or lecturer.
The chosen candidates will then have a telephone interview and Leaders Unlocked will run workshops with the successful Youth Commission candidates to establish their policing priorities and to train them to carry out their own consultations – the Big Conversation – with their peers.
In all they hope to engage with around 1,500 young people across North Wales to agree priorities and write a report for the Police and Crime Commissioner to be presented at a special conference attended by the PCC, Chief Officers and representatives of the public with an interest in the work of the Youth Commission.
Kaytea Budd-Brophy added: “It’s very important we get a balance – we actively want young people with experience of the criminal justice system.
“It’s important that the Youth Commission is made up of young people from across the social spectrum who want to have a voice, get involved and make a difference to their communities.
“It’s an opportunity for young people to be able to challenge the police and for them to talk to the police and the Police and Crime Commissioner about the issues affecting them.
“For the first time we have had to address the issue of language in setting up a Youth Commission and we have worked with CWVYS (Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services) and they will assist us to deliver workshops through the medium of Welsh to ensure the project is inclusive and manages language choice.” For more information and to get an application form go to: www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/Working-in-Partnership/Youth-Commission.aspx or www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/cy/Gweithio-mewn-Partneriaeth/Comisiwn-yr-Ifanc.aspx
North Wales Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Griffith