HAMPSHIRE youths have the chance to shape how the police fight crime across the county.

Serious Violence, Hate Crime and Exploitation are top priorities for the Hampshire Youth Commission this year.

Young people between the ages of 14 and 24 can speak out on how these issues are tackled.

Each year the commission has a number of key issues to focus on.

It then asks teenagers and young adults across Hampshire for their views and experiences during a ‘Big Conversation’ consultation.

Ideas from previous sessions have led to initiatives such as, the Cyber Ambassadors online safety education programme and an award-winning unhealthy relationships campaign ‘Raise a Flag’.

Members of the commission also take part in strategic groups such as the child exploitation board and the violence reduction unit to ensure that young people are given a voice on issues that impact them.

Member Olivia Hanna said “I feel like I’m a part of something important.

“Having a part to play in ensuring that young people have a voice in how best to tackle crime in the community and seeing the direct impact our survey responses have is very rewarding.

“I also had the opportunity to write and present a quarterly report of survey responses to the PCC, who is using trends from our Big Conversation responses to formulate her police and crime plan.

“I would encourage anyone to volunteer who is looking for a flexible role which can fit around their work/studies and an opportunity to make a real difference to local policing and crime strategies.”

Members gain a variety of skills, work and meet with a range of people including senior police officers, MPs and service providers.

The Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said: “To protect young people from harm and to prevent them getting involved in crime those of us that make decisions about services for young people, be that police or victim support, health or education, need to listen to the views of young people and act on them.

“The Youth Commission is one way we can achieve this, and I would encourage any young person who wants to make a difference in relation to how we tackle the crime and policing issues that impact most on young people to join.”

To join, visit the police and crime commissioner website.