Police chief gets to hear students’ fears

PUBLISHED: 11:00 22 January 2013

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens with Weston College students.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens with Weston College students.

Weston College

AVON and Somerset’s new Police and Crime Commissioner was challenged by questions on drugs and violence from Weston College students, after their priorities were revealed in a youth survey.

Sue Mountstevens, who was elected last November, visited the college to receive results of a specially-commissioned survey into attitudes towards policing and crime.

The visit was organised with the SHM Foundation Political Academy’s Force Forward campaign, which aims to create a better relationship between young people and the police.

The Force Forward survey revealed priorities for young people in the area include a better police presence, tackling drug crime, better relations between young people and officers, putting a stop on stereotyping and greater efficiency.

Drug-related crime and violence was a particular priority for Weston students, who told Mrs Mountstevens that fear of crime was strong.

Weston College student Paul Greasley said: “There is an opportunity here to make a real difference and we all should grasp that opportunity.

“It is time to change how young people feel about the police, and vice versa, and this meeting feels like the first step.”

The meeting laid the foundations of the police youth advisory panel which the commissioner wants to set up and will involve Weston College students.

Students came up with ideas for improving relations between young people and officers, including setting up social events and potential recruitment opportunities within the force.

Mrs Mountstevens said: “If we listen to young people more carefully, rather than making judgements, I think that between us we can make a real difference.”

“What I have heard has been very inspiring. This is the reason that I became PCC.”

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