Gosport Youth Council organise crime event for their peers

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TEENAGERS were given an insight into the world of modern-day crime at an event organised by their peers.

Gosport Youth Council staged its first crime conference at Thorngate Halls, with more than 100 teenagers from local secondary schools and colleges taking part in workshops and listening to talks.

We want to equip teenagers in Gosport and make sure that they do not just become the victims, but also do not become the perpetrators

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage

Funded by Hampshire county councillors, there were six themes explored on the day, including sexual violence, cyber crime and hate crime.

And there was a chance at the end of the session for youths to ask panelists, which included Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane, any questions they still had.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said it was great to see young people taking responsibility.

He said: ‘It was well-attended by the young people of Gosport with some tremendous workshops and I think it gave a great explanation of the types of crime and the roles that people play.

‘Ultimately, Gosport is their future. It is important to ensure that people do not misbehave and that we do not accept anti-social behaviour as the norm because the vast majority do behave.

‘What was pleasing was they were talking about hate crime. The message was we should be tolerant and respectful and all get on.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was impressed by the initiative taken by the Gosport Youth Council.

She said: ‘There was such a great atmosphere and a real buzz in the room.

‘We want to equip teenagers in Gosport and make sure that they do not just become the victims, but also do not become the perpetrators.

‘We saw in the Brexit vote how a lot of young people did not get involved and were disappointed in the result.

‘I think that was a learning experience for young people that they do have a voice and it can be used for good.’

In a survey after the event, 85 of 86 people questioned said they learned something and found the event useful.

Anyone who wants to join the Gosport Youth Council can email sam.mitchell@gosport.gov.uk or call (023) 9254 5232.