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Bromley teenagers to have a voice in community through youth panels
A TEENAGER has come up with a groundbreaking scheme to get youths involved in their communities by talking rather than rioting.
Bethany Archer, who stayed home when the disorder came to Bromley last August, feels the rioters felt detached from the community.
And the 18-year-old experienced this when she first attended safer neighbourhood panel meetings as part of her duties as head girl at Darrick Wood School.
There she noticed the average age of people attending seemed to be about 55 years old.
Miss Archer said: “The first time I went to a safer neighbourhood meeting there were a lot of issues and complaints about the youth but no one was asking young people for their opinions and trying to engage with them.
“We have the problem of anti-social behaviour and the youths feel detached from society.”
Because of this a youth panel has been set up at her former school in Lovibonds Avenue, Orpington, where representatives from every year group get together to discuss issues.
Two people from the panel represent the school at the Farnborough and Crofton safer neighbourhood panel so there is a youth voice.
And Miss Archer hopes this scheme will be rolled out in secondary schools across the borough, as well as the setting up of a borough youth panel made up of representatives from all the schools.
It has got the full backing of Bromley’s borough commander Detective Chief Superintendent Steph Roberts.
She said: “I think the established structures are totally invaluable but when it is police run we do not get the full gambit of opinions but this scheme has come from the youth.
“This will be in existence and we will be able to filter things through to them and say ‘what do you think?’
“That panel has a right to a voice for public services and they can say ‘this is happening, can you explain it?’ and talk to us about police issues.
“It is moving away from the traditional police engagement process to reach a wider audience.”