A quick post this and one I’ll start by stating firstly that I think Ann Barnes has rightly condemned Paris Brown’s tweets as being ‘silly’ and ‘offensive’, secondly I’ll add that I’d not usually go for Tulisa lyrics for my blog titles but in this case, it’s appropriate…
As you’ve likely seen in the news over the past couple of days, shortly after seventeen year old Paris Brown was given the job of Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent Police, The Mail on Sunday ran a story in which they published a series of historic tweets from Paris’ personal Twitter account.
The controversial tweets made the headlines, a clearly upset Paris made a public apology and her boss issued a statement of support for Paris, rejecting calls for Paris to be removed from her post.
The role of Youth Police and Crime Commissioner was to bridge the divide between young people and the police. It aims to provide representation for young people to help promote inclusiveness in process of making decisions about how the force is run and what its priorities ought to be.
Many of the people that we deal with are younger and whilst officers and those making decisions about how the force operate try to be as inclusive and approachable as possible, I can see that having someone from a younger background available to facilitate communication and understanding could be quite invaluable.
To do the job well, it stands to reason that said person needs to be young themselves so they can honestly claim that they’ve got the credentials to speak for the younger members of the community that the force polices.
They need to be able to illustrate how the experience of growing up today is very different from that of what youth would have been ten or twenty years ago – they need to reflect what ‘it was different in my day’ really means.
The qualification that this background of youth gives at the same time affords the person some leeway to make mistakes – an essential part of the experience that they represent.
Find a seventeen year old candidate for YPPC who’s whiter than white and you’ll have found someone who’s not right for the job.
Instead, pick a teenager who has made mistakes that he or she regrets and will learn from and you’ll have a candidate in a much better position both to represent the thousands of other young people making similar mistakes, and to help give the advice that represents those people’s experiences.
P.S. This blog from A Dragon’s Best Friend I thought was interesting in terms of the context under which young people use social media and the consequences, it’s well worth a look.