A fair cop

Original Article

Swindon’s police team have the job of keeping crime off the streets of Swindon and the surrounding area.

With so many children and young adults outside looking for something fun to do, it is more important than ever that the police can communicate with young people.

But how do youths really view the police and do they think that the police are doing a good enough job of communicating with them?

After speaking to a number of youths about the police, the majority said they feel that the police do an effective job in their community.

For most of the teens, the police are respected in the way that they are just trying to keep everyone safe, however there were a few concerned youths that told of the room for improvement they feel there is.

“They spend so much time trying to sort out teenagers doing little things like not having lights on their bikes, but don’t seem to put as much effort into trying to fight other crimes,” were the words of one youth.

One teen felt that when reporting their bicycle as being stolen, the police were not as helpful as they would have liked.

Another said: “Teenagers all get tarred with the same brush. A handful of kids get into trouble and get ASBOs and so we are all like that, but we aren’t.”

After hearing of the comments made by these teens, Swindon police’s commander, Chief Superintendent Paul Howlett, responded by saying: “The majority of young people in Swindon are good people and are well behaved.

“It is only a small minority that cause problems and there is the risk that they earn all young people a bad name.

“It is important that we talk with young people so that we can understand their concerns and that we work with them because they are our future.”

It is clear that there are areas in which communication between the police and young people could be improved, but Swindon’s top cop assures us that he and the rest of Swindon’s policing team value the importance of connecting with the youth of the area.

The police support and run different initiatives to provide a place for youngsters to go including School and Police Liaison Activities for Summer/school Holidays (Splash).

This scheme is in its 15th year of operation and aims to provide a place where children and teens from around Swindon can get the opportunity to try something different, such as climbing or kayaking, or improve skills, such as acting or dancing.

The aim of this initiative is to keep kids off the street and out of trouble whilst strengthening the bond between the police and the community.

Overall, the continuing effort to build strong relations between the police and young people is ongoing work but there are positive comments from both sides that suggest that the future is looking bright.