repressed from Surrey Police
Teenagers in North Surrey enjoyed the opportunity to air their views and concerns at a SHOUT (Surrey Hear Our Thoughts) youth conference held at Sandown Racecourse in Esher on Monday, 18 March organised by Surrey Police.
Around 150 young people aged between 14 and 19-years-old from Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne attended the conference, held in partnership with Youth Support Service, Surrey County Council and Surrey Fire and Rescue.
The conference gave the teenagers who came from a variety of different backgrounds, an invaluable opportunity to tell Surrey Police and justice agencies about their key concerns, issues and priorities.
The teenagers took part in an interactive drama production performed by ‘Changing Faces’ that was based on real life events and scenarios. It covered four main issues relating to personal safety, anti-social behaviour, drugs and youth provisions and brought to light the dangers of internet bullying and grooming and highlighted the dangers and consequences of individuals using social media for illegal and immoral gains.
Police Sergeant Adam Luck, who leads the Youth Intervention Scheme, said: “We find this is a great way of meeting the people that we want to engage with, in a relaxed yet informative and highly constructive environment.
“It really is a great opportunity to listen to the young people and for them to have their voices heard by the people that can make changes in way that will help meet their needs in their everyday lives.
“We hope that by reaching out to these teenagers we can work with them and concentrate on preventative measures to stop them from criminal activity, a life of crime, help them get into work and enjoy a more fulfilling lifestyle.
“We want young people to understand the criminal justice system and gain invaluable tips on how to stay safe and away from anti-social behaviour. The conference is aimed at education, particularly in areas of drugs, bullying and harassment, personal safety and social media dangers, such as sexting.
“In the last three years youth crime has reduced by half and schemes such as these have shown to make a positive impact towards achieving this.”
A lunchtime marketplace consisting of key agencies and charities was also available to offer the teenagers advice and information.
The conference was the first of a series taking place around the county as a result of feedback and findings from the Children and Young Persons survey completed in 2012 and similar conferences in east and west Surrey are planned for later in the year.