TheSite Leaders low-down 6: Police

Photo of Sean O'Halloran
Monday 13th February 2012

In this week’s TheSite Leaders live chat we discussed the relationship between young people and police. This article portrays a more humorous view of the police, but in an environment where more and more young people feel they are being unfairly targeted by the police it was interesting to see how our Leaders felt.

Our leaders generally had a pragmatic attitude towards how the police treated them.

“As police, I don’t have a problem with them as such; doing their job and all. Admittedly there are faults – such as their handling of the phone hacking incidents”

“I think everyone makes mistakes in their lives but they do their job to the best of their abilities.”

“There’s more of a problem with the institution, as opposed to individual officers. In that environment it’s easy to get caught up in the culture”

Asked about how they thought the police viewed them, our Leaders had this to say:

“It depends on the area you live in, in my experience; if your area is known for violence and things by teens then they will be more on the look out for teenagers”

“Police are always on the look out for danger/trouble. I mean, it’s not that they dislike kids, but they are looking for the bad ones in the crowd so look for negative aspects rather than positive”

“In my area – Devon – they’re not fond of big groups of kids, but they don’t seem to have a huge problem”

A lot of young people have very different experiences of policing. Many young people interviewed after the riots last summer cited the way police treated them as a reason for what they did. Some of our TheSite Community feel differently, for instance:

“The issue I have is that the police should be held accountable when they mess up, and yet there’s very little evidence to suggest they ever are”

We were interested to know how the Leaders felt the police could engage with young people online. Some police services already use twitter to engage with the general public, and facebook to run events for young people. The Leaders felt that online Q&A sessions (a little like askTheSite) would work well.

“I suppose a Q+A type thing would work – a bit like how people put questions on – and then police officers could answer them. I’m sure a lot of people have questions for police.”

Our Leaders also recognised the use that police make of social media sites.

“There was an EDL demo  last weekend and the police did updates every hour on what was going on, using twitter, which was really helpful”.

At YouthNet we’re all about encouraging constructive engagement with young people, and our young people are very apt at engaging with service providers. It’s important to nurture a culture of collaboration instead of conflict.

Have you seen any interesting ways that public services have engaged with young people online? How do you think we could work to further those?

Leave a comment; let us know!


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One comment

  1. Photo of joe rafter says:

    I like this post, this is a great subject that should be discussed more often. The relationship between the police and young people, in my experience, is not good enough. I have worked with many young people that have been victims of crime but just didn’t trust the police enough to engage with them, especially without support from someone else. I remember myself when I was young that I did not like or trust the police and often felt discriminated against because of the area that I lived in.

    Trying to get young people to engage online with public services is golden question and the future of youth support as far as I am concerned. When I come to find some decent ways I’ll let you know. I just thought I would I would let you know I enjoyed a post on a subject that needs exploring.

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