Warnham teenager helps to shape Youth Commission’s report to Sussex Police

Sussex Youth Commission members Cara Exall and James Poll
Sussex Youth Commission members Cara Exall and James Poll

A Warnham teenager is among a team of young people who will present youngsters’ views on crime to senior police figures next month.

Cara Exall is part of the Sussex Youth Commission, who are carrying out final discussions as they prepare to draw their ‘Big Conversation’ on policing to a close.

She recently helped to facilitate a workshop which brought members of the Youth Commission and the National Citizen Service together to discuss cyber bullying and the police’s role in preventing online harassment.

She said: “It was really insightful to hear everyone’s views and opinions on cyber bullying and how they thought it could and should be policed.

“Many young people feel the police don’t have the skills or the resources to deal with these types of issues that are taking place online, so this was their opportunity to ask questions about what more can be done to tackle cyber bullying and learn about the measures in place to protect them.

“People can find it difficult to know how to behave online – there’s a fine line between banter and bullying.

“I’m no technology whiz kid, despite being born to the digital generation, and learning things about online anonymity, including the law around tracking a person’s IP address has helped me greater understand the challenges police face.”

As well as cyber bullying, the group has focused on hate crime, drug and alcohol abuse, supporting young offenders and victims of crime, and the relationship between young people and the police.

Youth Commission members have consulted young people from a wide range of backgrounds – from those who have experienced crime first-hand to those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Many who shared their views felt a lot of the issues surrounding online harassment came from people not understanding the law and their rights online.

The group will present their findings to Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and chief constable Giles York as well as representatives from charities, local government and voluntary organisations on September 13.

Delegates at the conference will discuss how to turn the recommendations into meaningful outcomes for the police and other organisations working with young people in Sussex.

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