The best way to communicate issues to young people is through young people themselves, according to Hampshire’s chief constable, Andy Marsh.
He spoke to students at a scrutiny event last week, held at Highbury College in Cosham.
It’s good to hear that some young people know who their local police representative is, but that’s just a minority
He was sat beside the police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes, and they both agreed that it’s important to work with young people in order to raise the issue of tackling crime.
The younger generation are often labelled as catalysts of crime and can be immediately judged in a variety of situations.
From walking along the street to going down town with a group of mates, the stereotypes are pretty much unavoidable.
But is it really fair that people have formed an impression of us before we even have the opportunity to prove ourselves?
Hampshire Constabulary interacts and engages with young people in various ways, from the newly-formed police cadets to community engagement at schools.
The chief constable also spoke about the importance of having at least one PCSO (police community support officer) assigned to each school across the area.
PCSOs are seen as a bridge between the police and the broader community, especially young people. But even so, their role and responsibility can be a controversial one.
Many may argue that there should be fewer, if not any PCSOs, instead employing more police officers with the power to arrest.
But others say they’re doing a great job and there should be more of them.
The bigger picture leads us to question the success that they have in engaging with young people.
It’s good to hear that some young people know who their local police representative is, but that’s just a minority.
I asked the chief constable how he can change the level of engagement, reaching out to a wider range of young people.
His comment was that through approaching schools, every child will have an understanding of crime and knowledge about who does what.
Young people dominate social networking sites, allowing ample opportunity to engage with content published by the police.
He added that the police will be investing time in social media, making it as interactive as possible.
There’s a lot that needs to be done by the police to fully get young people on board.
I’ll be really interested to see what they have in mind and how successful it ends up being.