Hey everyone. It's Harvind here. I hope you all had a prosperous start to the New Year, without a doubt we at YOW definitely did. We are now back in the swing of things since our Christmas break and productive as ever working on our Real Knives Real Lives campaign. We are delighted that our YOW family is getting bigger week by week as we have had many new members join the group since January. We are so proud of young people in Walsall who are putting their precious time into a lot of good.
Myself and Mariam, representing Walsall (whoop, whoop!) attended our first Youth Police and Crime Commissioners' (YPCC) meeting of 2019 at Lloyd House in Birmingham on Tuesday 22nd January. This is normally a two hour meeting and all 16 YPCC's attend to discuss items on our agenda.
Harvind chairs the Youth Commissioners meeting in Birmingham.
YPCC's attended and brought to the table their ideas and issues that were affecting their constituency and areas. Unsurprisingly, the top few issues discussed were tackling knife crime, looking at mental health issues and to challenge the use of drugs amongst young people. This, of course, resonates with the Make Your Mark campaign results, which also had two of these issues as its top 5. It’s clear to say that young people around the nation, West Midlands and in Walsall all want to focus on the same issues to be challenged.
As most of you will already know, if you read my last blog post, I volunteered to chair the next meeting, and so I did. However, just hours before the meeting, I was a bundle of nerves, as I hadn’t quite done this type of thing before. But it all went really well, with words of encouragement from Ashley, Mary and Supt. Martin, but on top of that everyone was so supportive and encouraging (I think the buffet helped a bit). The whole experience was GREAT! Not only this, but for the first official meeting, everyone started to integrate with one another, we got to know the other YPCC’s a lot more and made lots of new friends. Chairing the meeting enhanced my skills and confidence, especially with everyone being so supportive and encouraging throughout the meeting.
Our agenda consisted of reflecting on December’s Youth Summit, which everyone had a lot of positive things to say for, including how impactful and insightful they found our video with a powerful message going across the nation. We also had a round table discussion on what we as YPCC's would like more information on, and we were told about the policy areas that the Commissioner and OPCC officers wanted us to play an active role in. During the discussion, we explored our initial thoughts on new ways to create and reach out with messages to others.
So, I am sure you guys have gathered that the meeting went great and it is really helpful and informative when we hear about the views of the other YPCC's. It is incredible to know that there's so many of us who want the best things for the youth.
As part of our roles as YPCC's, we were invited by Shéze Malik (Senior Stop and Search Youth Trainer for WMPCC) to the Walsall Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel on Thursday 24th January at Bloxwich Police Station. This meeting was very useful. I got to meet amazing people from different ages who had ideas about issues affecting young people. Some things were discussed about knife arches and officers wanted to improve search and stop checks and look at alternative methods to it. It's fascinating to see how all police officers want to get rid of the barrier between young people and the force.
We have only been active in our role for 3 months and we can definitely say we have learnt a lot, spoken with many great people, and we still have a long way to go. But this has been a really special start to the journey for me you meet lots of like-minded people and I get to know how other people think. I will keep you guys updated with everything we are doing. You can always contact us on our email if you want to get in touch.
Take care until next time!
To find out more about the role of Youth Police and Crime Commissioner, please click here. You can also visit the Police and Crime Commissioner's website.
Mariam Sohail and Harvind Grewal are your current Youth Commissioners for the Walsall area. If you would like to get in touch with them, please email us at email@example.com or use our contact form.