Members of the Young Scot Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel have secured five pledges from the force as to how it will work with children and young people
A group of young volunteers from a national youth charity have exerted their influence to advise Police Scotland on how it polices young people and keeps them safe.
Members of the Young Scot Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel, a board made up of 18 young people and set up last year, along with Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, worked with the force to create its new strategy to working with children and young people.
They have secured five key promises – referred to as priorities by Police Scotland – which make up its new four-year approach.
The promises include Police Scotland prioritising young people’s safety and protection, a commitment to engage with young people more and offering advice about safety to prevent young people coming in to harm.
Their contribution demonstrates the power of working alongside young people to improve public services
Regarding victims and witnesses, Police Scotland will discuss with young people how their case will be dealt with and offer support regarding their needs regardless as to their background.
Similarly if a young person is accused of misbehaviour the force will treat them fairly and make sure they understand their rights and the process.
Chief executive of Young Scot, Louise Macdonald, praised the approach taken by the young people on the advisory board.
“Their contribution demonstrates the power of working alongside young people to improve public services,” she said.
"Both the Young Scot Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel members and the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers have done phenomenal work within their own communities.
“They more than deserve all the recognition they have received today and I'd like to congratulate each and every one of them."
Police Scotland chief constable Phil Gormley said it was vital the force listened to young people and will work with a wide range of organisations to make sure the priorities are met.
“It’s vital we listen; it’s vital we engage; and it’s vital we provide information about the police service for children and young people that will help them make informed choices,” he said.
“This can help them avoid risks ranging from substance abuse to threats emerging from the online world and other harmful behaviours.
“The key principles of integrity, fairness and respect are never more important than when we are engaging with children in their early years, as this will influence their perspective on policing for the rest of their lives.”
Speaking at the launch of Police Scotland’s Children and Young People 2016 strategy at the Police Scotland College, Tulliallan, minister for community safety and legal affairs, Annabelle Ewing said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this new approach to working with children and young people which, crucially, has been developed in collaboration with young people themselves.
“The safety and wellbeing of our children should always be our first priority, therefore I’m pleased to see Police Scotland taking forward a clear way ahead over the next four years.”
Tam Baillie, children and young people’s commissioner, added: “The Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel should be congratulated on what has clearly been a very successful piece of work.
“The new approach sends a positive message to both Police Scotland staff and children and young people themselves about the way in which they can hope to work together over the next four years.”