Young people come together to debate the future of policing

Around 80 young people from across the country came together to reimagine policing in a landmark Hope Hack event.

Jul 10, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Five violence reduction units (VRUs) partnered with the Hope Collective, UK Youth, the National Citizen Service, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, the National Black Police Association, West Midlands Police and the Police Race Action Plan for the landmark event in Coventry.

Hope Hack events provide a platform for young people to debate and come up with solutions to the problems that matter to them. Led and hosted by young people, the events feature panel discussions and performances as well as workshops where young people come up with their proposals for change.

The concept led by the Hope Collective, a partnership of youth organisation formed originally to support the 20th anniversary legacy campaign for Damilola Taylor, has so far hosted more than 30 similar events across the country.

The event in Coventry was the first time Hope Hack focused on a single issue, specifically the future of policing and what young people see as the solutions.

The event saw a keynote talk from Jermaine Jackman, a former winner of BBC talent show The Voice.

Suggestions put forward by the young people included putting more importance on mental health and mutual respect, as well as young people being aware of their rights around stop and search.

Hope Collective chair, Professor Niven Rennie, said: “This was the 33rd Hope Hack we have delivered across the UK and we think it’s possibly the most important yet. ‘Hope Hacks’ are youth led events – led by young people for young people. We put young people at the front and centre of the conversation and ask them to define a fairer society.

“I spent the vast majority of my career as a police officer. I know the problems the police face but I also know that many of our communities have significant vulnerabilities and that these need to be taken extremely seriously. After all, the cornerstone of the British policing system is the need for the police to undertake their duties with the consent of the public.

“Our young people have a legitimate right to have their voice heard in this respect and to define that level of ‘consent’ from their standpoint.

“A wonderful team of people from across several police regions and from many of our violence reduction units have been worked with the Hope Collective and the Police Race Action Plan to ensure that this event was a great success and that the voices of our young people can be heard.”

Police Race Action Plan programme director T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dr Alison Heydari said: “I am delighted that the plan has been able to support such a positive event and platform for young people to give their views on policing.

“The Hope Hack is a remarkable concept and I have seen firsthand just how powerful their work is in putting young people front and centre of the conversation on huge issues facing society, including the future of policing.

“Meaningful engagement with young people is a big part of what we are trying to deliver through the plan and we are grateful for the support of all the groups here today to help us do that.

“I have heard some really insightful and at times challenging conversations and I will be taking the thoughts of these young people away with me determined to put their ideas into action.”

The five VRUs involved were the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Violence Reduction Network, the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Partnership, the West Midlands Violence Reduction Partnership and the Greater Manchester VRU.

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