Police consult @ Kids co.

It’s really good to see the Metropolitain Police Authority getting out and about into the community trying to find out the views and attitudes of children and young people. I went along earlier this week to see how one of their consultation events was run at the fantastic Kids Co. (more on them at the end of this post) What I saw was encourgaging – it was a very well-attended event and some important issues were raised- it was made clear that the young people were going to be listened to seriously.

However, there is still room for improvement on the way in which consultations like this are carried out – for example, simple design issues like setting up the hall in a less confrontational and old-school fashion (For eg. we had older white male policemen in uniforms up at one end behind tables, and the rest of us – mainly young people of many different races dressed in casual clothes  in seats much like a school assembly- sat facing them in an open forum style meeting.) Admittedly there were good intermediary facilitators in the form of Camila Batmanghelidjh (Kids co.) and Cindy Butts (MPA) which did help greatly in moving the conversation forward.

As I said, its definitely a positive step in the right direction – here’s to more and better communication between service providers and the people who REALLY use them! :)

You should know about Kids Co…

What do Kids co. do? They support vulnerable children and young people from  inner city backgrounds – but support doesn’t sum it up too well as they go about doing this in an absolutely inspiring way. Check out their website for more info, particularly the work of the Urban Academy which takes a refreshingly holistic approach to education and skills.

They are currently looking to replicate their successes across the country.  Also, they sell funky bags, barethreads hoodies and T-shirts to raise extra cash to support their work. I’m about to buy one!(Watch this space for a pic!)

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2 Comments

  1. Really interesting to read…

    I did wonder when I read about these events how they would run – seeing how prominent the mention of senior police officer presence was the literature.

    The physical setting is, of course, crucial – but there is also an interesting question about how to strike the balance between proving that an issue is being taken seriously by the senior decision makers being there – and generating a real dialogue and discussion that is solution focussed, when the presence of senior decision makers can often skew events into being problem focussed and about Q&A / Challenge & Response – rather than something deeper.

    Great to see the links across to Kid’s Club’s work BTW – some of the theory and practice behind Camila’s and the teams work there is fascinating and really should be being talked about more in depth in the mainstream…

  2. What you’re saying there about challenge and response certainly does ring true – once this kind of cycle has begun in any consultation or participation exercise it is incredibly difficult to get back to something a little deeper and more revealing of true motives and relationships. It should be more than Q+A and that should be made plain to all those who give up time to participate. **gets off soap box

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