Crime and the relationship between young people and the police focused the attention of youth councillors and delegates at the Epping Forest Youth Council Conference on Friday 3 November 2017.
Hosted by Epping Forest District Council, the conference listened to presentations from Alex Burghart MP, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner, Darren Horsman and Tom Mitchell, deputising for District Police Commander Lewis Basford.
The conference then debated the question:
“This house believes Essex Police should have a dedicated Police Liaison Officer serving the Epping Forest District.”
Watch the live debate
Police Liaison Officer not the answer
Knife crime, gangs and how to tackle these issues featured heavily. Does a single dedicated liaison officer have the scope and resources to make a meaningful impact? Could they develop better understanding and give young people a clearer voice in offering solutions?
Following a full and wide-ranging debate conference rejected the motion by 62 percent to 38 percent. A dedicated Police School Liaison Officer does not seem to be the answer for the young people of Epping Forest.
Click on an image below to begin slideshow of the youth conference.
Say No to N2O
Conference also discussed the growing problem of Nitros Oxide use among young people. Earlier this year, members of the youth council collected hundreds of discarded N2O canisters across the district. Legally available for uses ranging from medicine to party balloons, in the wrong hands N2O is being seen increasingly as a dangerous recreational gateway drug.
Council Leader – Importance of young people
Winding up the youth conference, the Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Chris Whitbread thanked and congratulated each of the delegates and their schools for supporting the event. He emphasised the importance of giving young people a voice. In a world dominated by older generations he approved the fresh ideas and knowledge brought to bear by involving young people in the decisions that affect the community.
Skills for work and mental health were voted top topics for future work.