Grant, Jade, Lead Youth Worker Robin Seeley, Hayden and Sue Mountstevens at Bridgwater YMCA
Listening to young people was the focus of Police and CrimeCommissioner Sue Mountstevens community day in Somerset on Thursday, May 2.
Sue Mountstevens started her day at Somerset College,Taunton talking to Public Service (uniformed) diploma students. The course preparesstudents for entry tests carried out by a range of public services including thepolice but also armed forces and other emergency services.
The students asked Ms Mountstevens a range of questionsabout her vision and careers in policing.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) then briefly visitedthe RSPCA in West Hatch, Taunton and met Chief Executive Gavin Grant. She touredthe Wildlife Centre hearing about the recent rescue of 170 birds covered inoil, washed up on the south coast.
Next she travelled to Bridgwater YMCA to meet youngresidents, members of a community deaf club and young offenders in an activitysession.
19 year-old Bridgwater YMCA resident Louise accompanied thePCC on her visit. She said: “The opportunity to talk with the PCC about whatlife was like for me growing up and showing her now where I live and how far Ihave come was really good.
“I was honest with her about my experiences with the policeand how difficult some young people can be, me included. She was interested inme and how I support other young people at the YMCA.”
YMCA resident Nathan, aged 22, told the PCC that prison isnot always the right place for young people, he said: “sometimes there areother ways to change,” however “prison might be the right place for repeatoffenders,” he added.
Bridgwater YMCA Chief Executive Martin Hodgson said: “It isgreat to see the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens engaged andlistening to young people. The young people that she met today all havedifferent experiences and stories about how the YMCA has supported them. Somealso have their own experiences of the criminal justice system and I am gladthat she is listening to a range of young voices.”
The PCC finished her day with Somerset Rural Youth Projectwhere she chatted to two young people from Glastonbury and learnt about theMoped Loan Scheme where young people can loan a moped for a small fee to getthem to work or training.
Ms Mountstevens said: “I have heard from a range of youngpeople today and they all have inspiring stories including moving on fromproblems at home, recovering from addiction and dealing with rural isolation.
“It was really interesting to hear about their experiences, forexample where young people do and do not feel safe, such as in unlit publicspaces. All of the feedback I hear helps me consider ways I can influence orchange the things we do, not just in policing. Young people are our future andwe have got to make sure that they are supported to grow and make a positivecontribution to the communities in which they live.”
Posted on Friday 3rd May 2013