Year 9 students attend Youth Conference to inspire life outside of crime

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Year 9 students from across Bedfordshire attended the county’s first-ever three day Youth Conference, hosted by the Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), with the aim to inspire more rewarding life choices.

Local partners, organisations and colleagues from Bedfordshire Police took the opportunity to share their real-life, lived experience at the event in partnership with Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Unit (VERU) and the police and crime commissioner’s office.

PCC Akinbusoye said: “I am immensely proud of what I have seen over the last few days, from both speakers and schools.

“As part of my Police and Crime Plan, I am committed to collaborating with communities and schools to help young people to understand the impact their actions and choices can have on the rest of their life.

“Every single life of a young person, victim, or person we touch for good is potentially a generation transformed for the better.”

He stated that his team will do everything they can do, to prevent harm, protect and divert young people from danger and to help them fulfil their aspirations.

Roseann Taylor, who tragically lost her son after he was stabbed to death in Luton in March 2018 spoke at the event. She now works as a Youth Intervention Specialist for the VERU to help educate young people about the consequences of knife crime.

Roseann said: “This could happen to anybody; you do not have to be entrenched in gang culture for serious violence to influence your life.

“There is support out there. It’s about letting them know it is there for them.

“And I don’t want another parent to suffer what I’ve suffered, and I don’t want any child to go through what happened to my son and the boys that did it.”

Year-9 student, Nadia, from Bedford Academy said: “The story was detailed and very deep. It was very inspirational to hear the story of her life and how different it was from how we grow up. I am happy she told us; it has educated me so much about a path I do not want to take.”

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