Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite hears the opinions of the region’s young people at Ely Police Youth Consultation Panel meeting

Sergeant Phil Priestley, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite and the Youth

Sergeant Phil Priestley, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite and the Youth Consultation Panel at Ely police station. - Credit: Archant

Youngsters headed down to Ely police station for a second meeting organised to improve the relationship between young people and the police.

The Youth Consultation Panel, a group of 12 teenagers from around East Cambridgeshire, met with Sargeant Phil Priestley and Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite this week to discuss the barriers that exist between the police and young people.

The panel also viewed the Constabulary’s ‘cyber police station’ for the first time – a building made in Minecraft which aims to encourage contact and to facilitate school engagement.

The meeting follows a successful opening meeting back in July, and Sgt Priestley says this week’s get-together also ran smoothly.

“It was superb to hear from Mr Ablewhite on his enthusiasm for youth engagement,” he said. “The dialogue around the table was both intelligent and insightful.

“We have heard incredible well-voiced opinions from this group that will result in an immediate effect on the way that we think about our young communities and how our services are accessed by them.

“We know from experience that young people can often find the police intimidating particularly when reporting crimes face to face. This forum will be an excellent place for both the group to get to know us and for us to really understand what young people have to deal with. We’re breaking down boundaries and it’s nice for them to see us in a different context.”

Most Read

The new East Cambs Youth Consultation Panel will meet on a monthly basis and will advise the Constabulary, the Commissioner and City Council on a number of emerging issues such as cybercrime, and how to improve their social media messaging.

Twelve-year-old panel member Oscar Jarvis said: “I really like giving my thoughts to the group. I hope I can help the police understanding the problems young people have in their communities and what they can expect from the police.”

Cllr Ablewhite added: “It was a real privilege to meet such an enthusiastic group of young people – the fact that they are giving up their own time to help us better understand the challenges they face will bring a rich source of learning to both the Constabulary and my own team.”