University to host Cumbria youth crime prevention conference

University to host Cumbria youth crime prevention conference

This week the University of Cumbria and leading ‘sport for development’ charity StreetGames host a key event to find new ways of preventing youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Cumbria Youth Crime Prevention Conference will see academic and industry experts working with practitioners from sport, health and social care, policing, education, outdoor adventure, housing, and children and families sectors.

With examples of how sport is making a positive difference to young people’s lives, interactive workshops will explore the complex issues that young people ‘at risk’ contend with in their lives. Delegates will collaborate to find new ways of empowering young people to make positive choices and changes, helping to build safer and healthier communities.

The conference will focus on three themes – vulnerable girls and young women, child-centred policing, and community-led approaches to serious youth violence.

Lightning talks will feature details of the White Ribbon Campaign, which focuses on safety and education to prevent crimes against girls; Cumbria Constabulary’s new child-centre policing strategy; and the experience of StreetGames in delivering community-led initiatives.

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell, Cumbria Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall and academics from the policing and health teams at the university are among the speakers at the online event.

Cumbria Youth Alliance, Cumbria County Council and Allerdale Borough Council will shine a spotlight on current projects already promoting early intervention and supporting young people.

Conference organiser Mark Christie, senior lecturer in sport and physical activity development within the University of Cumbria’s Institute of Health, said: “This event seeks to bring a multi-disciplinary perspective towards youth crime prevention in Cumbria. Whilst we’re using sport to highlight how one service is making a difference, we know that sport does not hold all the answers to youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

“We hope that this Cumbria-wide virtual conference will find solutions that we can develop together which reach out to those young people who may be at risk of going down the wrong path and help them avoid doing that.”

StreetGames is a leading charity working across the UK that harnesses the power of sport to change the lives of disadvantaged young people.

StreetGames chief executive Mark Lawrie said: “StreetGames uses the power of sport to give young people the support and opportunities that they need to live healthier, safer and more successful lives. We do that by working closely with brilliant local organisations who have the reach and reputation within their neighbourhoods to get support to those who need it most.

“We’re excited to be working with the University of Cumbria to explore the role that sport and physical activity can play in steering children and young people towards more positive choices and its role in helping to prevent youth crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Cumbria Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “Policing involving children is an incredibly important part of the service we deliver. Children represent our future society and what we do now will influence the confidence they have in us to make them feel safe, supported and engaged for generations to come.

“Bringing an even more child-centred policing focus to the constabulary has already created results. We have witnessed many success stories, with young people making positive choices, improving their life chances and wellbeing. Any efforts made to positively engage with young people who may be at risk of making the wrong life choices has to be supported.”

The University of Cumbria offers routes into policing as a career with BSc Professional Policing and other undergraduate and postgraduate study options. It is also delivering police constable degree apprenticeships and degree holder entry programmes to new recruits at three forces in the south east of England.

The Virtual Cumbria Youth Crime Prevention Conference takes place online on Friday 18 June 2021, 9,30am-12.30pm. Practitioners who want to attend can find out more and register for free places at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cumbria-youth-crime-prevention-tickets-153813118177