This is a bold move and one that I fully support. John Dwyer, the PCC, rightly highlights the significant challenges facing young people and why a dedicated person is required to work on behalf of the young people of Cheshire. (Official statement here.)
I also hope that Ann Barnes after the Paris Brown affair does still follow through on her election promise to appoint a Youth Police & Crime Commissioner too.
Here are my reasons as to why I think these appointments make good sense:
- Young people probably trust the police least (and no I don't have the figures to hand but this link provides some back up)
- Young people feature highly in league tables of people most at risk of being victims of crime
- All young people under 18, though held to be criminally responsible from the age of 10, do not have a vote
- I think there is a growing problem for democracy: as more of the electorate is made up of people who are older, politicians will heed their opinions more leading to tensions between the generations (as discussed on the Moral Maze last night) as young people feel marginalised. I think the demonstrations in Brazil, Turkey and elsewhere are often understood better through the lens of such inter generational disagreements.
- The highest rates of unemployment and underemployment can be found among young people (I think)
- I want young people to be good law abiding citizens who support the police and collective efforts to reduce crime and disorder.
- Young people often get a bad press which is owned and led by (mostly) the stale, male and pale. More balance is required to ensure good governance