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Voice of Young Maidstone Safety Survey

Aimed at young people between the ages of 11 and 18.

Children and Young People today are growing up in a rapidly evolving world. Their safety and exposure to risks is, in many ways, unique to them as a generation. They are a generation who are said to be well connected, and yet they are not really connecting and developing the coping mechanisms for modern life. They are exposed to cultural and societal concerns that are beyond their years and understanding. Sadly, some are exposed to adverse childhood experiences and face daily challenges, like poverty or being a young carer. Yet many are confident, driven and aspiring to achieve great things.

The Maidstone Community Safety Partnership, known as the Safer Maidstone Partnership, through their Community Safety Plan 2019/22 has identified that Keeping Children and Young People Safe is amongst the highest of our priorities as a partnership. As part of this work the partnership committed to undertake a youth safety survey that will improve understanding of young people’s fears, particularly around carrying knives, as a growing national concern. We believe that our parents, guardians, teachers, the police and other children and young person’s services would benefit greatly from a better understanding of how our young people feel about our borough.

In March we will launch the Voice of Young Maidstone Safety Survey, aimed at children between the ages of 11 and 18. The survey, which will be available online through a link provided to schools, will ask children and young people to consider their feelings of safety at home, at school and in their local community. It will also ask about their online and internet safety, experiences of crime, their own risk-taking behaviour and that of their closest friends. The survey will be anonymised but will allow us to identify trends within schools, year groups and their communities.

Hearing from our young people is important, but in order to do so we need consent. We have provided with this letter some suggested wording which we would ask you to issue to your parents and guardians, via your parent mail systems or the equivalent. The wording explains how we will allow them to opt out their children if they do not want them to take the survey.

To launch the survey, we would like to invite two pupils from each school to attend (along with an appropriate staff member) to the Police Training College on Wednesday 4 March from 9:30am to 1pm.

At the event pupils and teachers will be asked to become ambassadors for the survey, so we need students who are able to promote the initiative back to their peers. Those who attend will see a series of short presentations following the themes of the survey and will be giving an exclusive opportunity to see the Kent Police training college in action. We will be providing refreshments on arrival and a packed lunch at the end of the session. In return we ask that those who attend to promote the survey within their school, clubs and communities utilising the materials we provide on the day through their student communication channels.

As further incentive to the young people of Maidstone, when they complete the survey, they will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw.

Due to security protocols at the college we must ask that all those attending register their details along with any dietary requirements to The deadline to do this has been extended to Wednesday 26 February. It will be by agreement of the school and parent, pending age and logistics, as to whether the pupil should register at school to travel as a group or travel to the Police College independently.

We very much hope you and your students will support the initiatives and we look forward to welcoming your representatives at the Police College next month.

Thank you to those who have already responded.

Maidstone Borough Council