[MAC0005]

 

Written evidence submitted by The Youth Commission, Hampshire (MAC0005)

 

1. Following data released on June 3rd 2020 by the Metropolitan Police Service on Covid-related enforcement indicating that “when compared with the composition of the resident population, higher proportions of those in Black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups were issued with FPNs [fixed penalty notices] or arrested across London as a whole. The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has also rightly brought a spotlight on racism and injustice across the world. We, the Youth Commission, are submitting evidence on recent developments, focusing on the impact of such changes and of the lockdown on police/community relations, particularly in relation to BME communities.

 

The Youth Commission

2. We, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Youth Commission, are volunteers, with members from the ages of 14 to 25 with the aim of getting young people’s voices heard in and around the themes of policing and crime. Each year we choose three priorities to tackle (areas we feel are issues in our community) that we focus on and raise awareness about through signposting, (usually) events and our social media, working with the thoughts and views of young people across our region to find a youth focused solution. This year our priorities are Serious Violence, Exploitation and Hate Crime.

 

3. Throughout the year we run ‘The Big Conversation[1] which is a regional survey which gets the views and experience of young people on our chosen priorities, and we publish our findings in a report released at our annual conference. This survey is essential to getting young people’s voice heard anonymously , especially those from BAME and other seldom heard groups of young people such as offenders and children in care, who are often not given the same opportunities to speak up and have their voice heard.

 

 

Hate crime: Youth Commission priority

4. Since January 2020 we have been focused on looking at hate crime as one of our priority areas. The topical importance of tackling hate crime has been increasing in the minds of young people over the last few years, demonstrated through 15% of 4,400 Big Conversation responses in 2018 indicating that hate crime was their top priority.[2] In 2019, although hate crime was not a standalone priority, it had a sufficient number of mentions in the “something else” category on the Big Conversation cards to warrant its reintroduction as a priority for 2020. We have found 35% of responses received so far in 2020 tell us that hate crime is the most important Youth Commission priority for young people here in Hampshire; a reflection of the awareness of the hate crime that has increased from the time of Brexit and COVID-19.

 

“Since the referendum, racist actions and bigotry have been commonplace. At school racist terms and slurs have been common”

                                          Young person, Hampshire

 

“As an ethnic minority and a foreign national, I am regularly subjected to racial comments, most out of ignorance but at times I have felt threatened”

                                          Young person, Hampshire

 

5. For 2020, the most prevalent type of hate crime outlined in the “thoughts and experiences” section of the Big Conversation card involved race. Many BAME respondents spoke about personal experiences with hate crime and the subsequent toll on their mental health; a feeling which appears to have increased with the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and the recent killing of George Floyd. Respondents noted a lack of representation and understanding in current education, wanting teachers and authority figures to stress how skin colour should not be a barrier to integration or getting a job. Few responses indicated that they would report a hate crime, showing how relationships with the police, especially among young people in the BAME community, need to be improved.

 

 

Youth Commission coded data

6. It is important that we read every single response given to us by young people here in Hampshire. We code the responses to allow us to draw themes from the data. The Big Conversation is an opportunity for the voice of young people to be heard.

 

7. The priority of hate crime can be seen here, with the experiences and issues young people face in relation to hate crime:

 

 

8. Just over 14% of young people told us they have had first-hand experiences with racism, and 7% tell us the impact of hate crime is having a negative impact upon their mental health and wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Here we can see the solutions to tackle hate crime as suggested by young people:

 

 

10. By far education (30.08%) and awareness raising (17.74%) are the stand out solutions for young people when talking about hate crime. While the answer may appear simple, we believe it is much harder to tackle. Awareness of consequences (8.74%), both criminally and personally, what the law can do to protect individuals, and the damaging impact acts of hate crime and hate incidents can have upon individuals in our communities.

 

"I believe if groups are more widely educated on this matter, people are more likely to understand and accept people's differences."

                                          Young person, Hampshire

 

11. To see how young people’s views on hate crime, and our other priority areas develop over the coming year, take a look here: https://public.tableau.com/profile/police.and.crime.commissioner.for.hampshire.isle.of.wig#!/vizhome/BigConversation2020/BigConversation2020?publish=yes

 

 

VRU and COVID-19

12. The Violence Reduction Unit[3] (VRU) here in Hampshire is working to prevent and tackle serious violence. A key aspect is working with, and talking to young people influenced and affected by crime. The VRU wanted to learn more about the thoughts and views of young people (those engaged with our local youth offending teams) around serious violence during the COVID-19 lockdown, and changes as the restrictions ease. A short, targeted survey found that 17% of participants felt unsafe in public spaces during lockdown. When asked, if they have offended before, what could help to reduce their offending after the lockdown, the most selected was ‘someone to talk to’ with 42.86% of respondents identifying this. The biggest impact of lockdown for our young people is not being able to see friends and family, with 46% of those answering identifying this. When asked what worries our young people the most when lockdown is lifted 36.51% identified the ‘second wave/ COVID-19 coming back’. We recognise that not all of the participants answered every question, but by gaining an insight into this hard to reach group we have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 for our young offenders.

 

June 2020

 


[1] https://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/youth-commission/big-conversation

[2] https://issuu.com/policeandcrimecommissionerforhampsh/docs/yc-report-2018-final-online-v04?e=19449126/66105314

[3] https://www.hampshire-pcc.gov.uk/violence-reduction-unit-awards-500000-to-tackle-serious-violence-in-hampshire