What is the Younger Persons External Reference Group and what do they do?
It is where the young people from Sussex meet up with the Sussex Police and offer individual advice and personal insights about our community and experiences with the them. This also demonstrates the commitment of Sussex Police to a relationship of openness, honesty and integrity with our community.
The purpose of the group is to improve the trust and confidence young people have in the Sussex Police and gives us as young people an opportunity to inform and advise them on a variety of topics. We aim to support the Police as representatives of young people of Sussex to make sure that our voices are heard in the community and this is being done in this group.
What are the police seen as to young people?
We as young people, unfortunately, see the police as unapproachable authority figures. The panel believed that officers should have interactions with young people from a young age to prevent this view of the police and make they feel comfortable around them. If this doesn’t happen it may lead to unfortunate circumstances as they could be too afraid or uncomfortable to confront the police or anyone else. We should see the police as human beings not these authority figures.
Some of the panel members showed the positives of the police and some personal encounters with them at school. This leads us to a conclusion that we need to improve the police image among younger people. One method suggested was to use social Media. As it was suggested to go to certain social influencers of young people. Also that the police should visit schools and colleges regularly to stop and get rid of any negative perceptions of the police. Another point suggested was that the police could improve the diversity among police officers making them more approachable to people of other cultures and ethnic backgrounds.