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BMet’s innovative digital design workshop strengthens youth-police relationships in Birmingham

A pioneering digital design workshop with students at BMet College, has effectively helped improve relationships with young people and the police.

Led by Digital Skills Consulting, the “Addressing Young People’s Perception of the Police” Design Workshop took place at BMet’s Matthew Boulton College site.

One of a series of events taking place around the country, the initiative provides an opportunity for young people to `discover their voice’ and see in practice that they can influence decisions that impact their community – and specifically their age group.

50 students from BMet participated, with around 20 officers from the West Midlands Police Force. They were joined by 15 professional designers from leading design agency, Experience Haus, together with 25 mentors from local and national businesses and charities.

The young people worked with the experts to create digital solutions that will help promote better understanding and encourage better relationships between themselves and the police.

Ideas included an App that provides young people with their `rights & responsibilities’ if they were subject of a Stop & Search procedure and a website where young people can find activities in their local area, overlaid with a map showing updates on any crime issues to be aware of.

The ideas will be taken forward, ultimately resulting in a solution being developed to support everyone involved.

Police Perceptions Workshop at BMet

Oliver Stokes, Creative and Digital Director at BMet said: “Taking part in this unique workshop was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work collaboratively with the police in order to establish connections and be a positive force for change within the community.

“It was great to see our students’ creative knowledge and skills come to the forefront again and for a rewarding purpose. It will be great to see the future developments that will arise following this invaluable relationship building.”

Leading the event was Julia Von Klonowski, CEO of Digital Skills Consulting. She said:

“Having run a similar event in London, we were delighted to give young people in Birmingham the opportunity to work with the local police force and to collaborate with professional designers.

“The workshop helped to break down some of the perceived barriers between the police and the students, as well as looking constructively and creatively at digital solutions to promote better relationships and understanding.

“The students were fantastic and brought a huge amount of insight and enthusiasm to the day. This event was incredibly beneficial to everyone involved and we look running further workshops in other locations over the coming months.”

Chief Superintendent Kim Madill from the West Midlands Police Force offered her support and congratulated participants for their dedication to addressing real-world issues. She said:

“This event is a fantastic way for police and partners to hear from young people in the area and have open and honest conversations to understand what their perceptions of policing are.

“Our aim is to build young people’s trust and confidence in the police, as well as listen to their opinions and concerns around everything from vaping to knife crime.

“These events build on our youth engagement work, where we actively listen to young people to learn from their experiences which then shape our approach. Whether it’s school councils, surveys, cadets or the youth police and crime commissioners, we’re listening and adapting.

“As well as being hugely beneficial for the young people, their feedback is also invaluable to help us work with partners to tackle the issues that matter the most to them.

“It’s also an opportunity to encourage young people to report concerns and crimes as well as the different ways they can do this, either to police and partners or anonymously by contacting Fearless –  the dedicated youth service of Crimestoppers.”

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