Young people from estates help Police set priorities in Hackney: picture story

Young people from estates help police set priorities in Hackney

Working with Hackney Council, the Police have set up the first two youth-led crime fighting panels in Hackney – one in Chatham and one in the Haggerston ward.

Panels of young people from two large estates in the borough will meet Police and Council officers every couple of months to agree on priorities for action to make their neighbourhoods safer. At the meetings, Police will share up-to-the-minute data on crime figures, youth crime trends and patterns as well as listening to young people’s concerns.

The project aims to build trust between the authorities and young people; create a bond between the generations and give young people a stronger voice and platform to express their concerns about safety within their communities.

Cllr Alan Laing, Member of Cabinet for Neighbourhoods said: “We want young people to be able to relate to the Police and the Council face-to-face, to look past suits and uniforms to see the human face and intention behind joint efforts to keep crime falling in Hackney. Young people will shape our work and in turn we will shape their communities to make them safer, friendlier places to live in.”

Police Community Support Officer, Matthew Wilsdon said: “Young people have a unique and important perspective on safety in their neighbourhoods. They spend longer out and about on the streets and often notice things that can be invisible to adults. Many young people also have strong views on the work the Police should be doing to protect them and their peers from harm. Their take on security in Hackney is crucial for making the borough safer.”

The Youth Community Action Panels will mirror existing adult panels, which already run in every ward and are made up of people who live and work in the different wards, discuss local concerns and set priorities for the Police and Council. To ensure that the generations understand one another s concerns, an ambassador from the youth crime panel will attend the adult meetings and vice versa.

In Haggerston, sixteen Year Nine students from the Bridge Academy were voted onto the panel’s committee by classmates. The Police asked fellow students to consider voting for students who did not necessarily typical “class presidents” but to vote in young people who combined good communication with a streetwise streak.

Council officers will be working with representatives from the Youth Parliament and Hackney Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams to roll out this initiative to other areas in the borough.

Last night, children from the Chatham estate told Police of their concerns about anti-social behaviour and fireworks being used as weapons on their estate.

Young people interested in joining the youth crime action panels should click on and scroll down to find contact details of their local safer neighbourhoods scheme.