New Website Aims To Keep Youngsters Safe

Police site appeals to 11-16 year olds

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A new Metropolitan Police Service website aims to keep young people 'Safe'. 

Aimed at 11-16 year olds, Safe - the Metropolitan Police Service's first ever youth website launched today, Thursday July 29. 

The new site seeks to inform young people about the crime and safety issues that matter to them, ranging from bullying and drugs to gangs and knife crime. 

As well as presenting basic but useful facts on a range of policing and crime topics there are advice sections and links to support organisations, as well as information regarding the law and people's rights. It explains how the police work, how they deal with issues such as anti-social behaviour and alcohol abuse, and why they do things such as stop and search. 

Safe was designed with the help of young people from a range of backgrounds, whose personal experiences and perspectives gave invaluable insight into how young people today feel about crime and safety; how they receive and research information, and the sort of advice they'd find helpful. 

Chief Superintendent Adrian Hanstock from the Metropolitan Police Service, and who oversaw the project, said: "Safe is a website designed in partnership with young people for young people. They are big users of the internet and consume a lot of information online so the Met needs a presence in that space. 

"Our research shows that there is a demand from young people for online information about crime and policing that is accessible and engaging. We believe that Safe achieves that.

"The new site also provides a dedicated page for teachers and hosts a number of resources including the respected 'Watch over me' and 'Living together' teaching packs, links to support organisations and crime prevention films including the Met's award-winning anti-weapons video 'Choose a different ending'. 

"Young people can be as many as three times more likely to be the victim of a street robbery than any other age group so Safe is just one way we can give them advice on how to keep safe." 

Between April 2008 and March 2010 the Police recorded 5,675 knife crime offences in the Metropolitan Police area where the victim was aged between 10 and 19 years. This age group makes up approximately 11% of the capital's, but nearly 28% of knife crime victims. 

16-year-old Wandsworth pupil Ollie Hughes recently tried the website and said: "Young people are a lot more internet savvy than their parents and we're usually a lot more comfortable online and know how to research and find information so I think Safe would be used by young people to find things out. I think Safe is really easy to use as you get to just read the things you're interested in or what you want to find out about." 

On the site's contacts section, young people can also find the name of their local Safer Schools police officer. The MPS has hundreds of Safer Schools officers working closely with secondary schools in London.

Assistant Commissioner Ian McPherson, head of Territorial Policing, adds: "While the overwhelming majority of young people are well behaved and good citizens, they are disproportionately affected by crime, particularly as victims of street crime and knife crime. Therefore, it's important there's a place they can go if they need advice on how to keep safe. 

"While the Met is present on the streets and in our communities it's important for us to be in the places where youngsters go. We are here for young people, and we want to keep them safe. Our new site gives practical tips on doing just that and while we recognise that having a site is just one part of speaking and listening to young people we hope it will be a helpful and informative site for many of them." 

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor and Chair of the MPA, urged young people to use the site to keep them safe: "Keeping young people safe is one of our top priorities, but they need to ensure that they as well as us are equipped to do this. Young people need to realise that carrying a knife is dumb and dangerous. You are much more likely to be injured or killed, rather than being protected if you carry a weapon. 

"Safe is a useful and practical tool to help us to interact with young people, parents and schools and together we can work together to tackle the issues and concerns that affect the whole of the city." 

Visit www.safe.met.police.uk to learn more.

On the site visitors can find out about topics including: 

Drugs and alcohol 
Knife crime 
Graffiti 
Your rights and stop and search 
Hate crime 
Internet safety. 

July 29, 2010