Redbridge Youth Debate highlights need to listen in face of growing problems
- Credit: Archant
The second Youth Debate in the borough’s history heard how there has been an increase in sexually related crime - just one of several issues affecting today’s youth - in Redbridge.
Three councillors - Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children and young people, Cllr Alan Weinberg and Cllr Ian Bond - the Metropolitan Police’s borough commander for Redbridge, Sue Williams and Steve Jones, service manager for Redbridge Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) all fielded questions from the group of youngsters.
All three councillors sitting on the panel spoke of the need to listen to young people at the event held at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, on Wednesday evening.
Cllr Norman said it was her priority to improve the lives of young people, their parents and carers.
“My priority is to consult you and to involve you as much as I can in the decision making of the council,” she said.
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“I will be working on a number of election pledges to facilitate that communication.”
Det Ch Supt Williams said there had been a rise in sex crimes - as with the rest of London - when asked how police were coping.
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“It is all very topical at the moment,” she said, before highlighting last week’s release of footballer Ched Evans from prison after he was convicted of rape in 2012.
She said there were several reasons for the increase, including the way the crimes are reported in light of Operation Yewtree.
“Because of Operation Yewtree, historical crimes are being reported,” she said. “Every month people who come into the station are reporting crimes that have happened in the past - and they are 50 or 60 years old.”
She added she was happy because the crimes are being reported and the police were doing “something about it”, but admitted young people were “vulnerable” to sex crimes.
Mr Jones said added pressure was placed on children in recent years because of media reports and social media sites.
Other issues raised by the youngsters present focused on community cohesion, station accessibility and mental health.