Despite all the General Election madness, our regular contributor Zeena Mistry wants to focus on a different type of election that the youth should also be engaged in.

In the past few years we have had so many elections; general elections, a referendum, local elections and European Parliament Elections. But we aren't done yet! Yes, we have the General Election on Thursday 12th December 2019, the result of which will quite possibly be the most crucial post-Brexit Referendum. But this article is not going to talk to you about that. Instead, I want to explain to you why, as a citizen and young person, participating in the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections on Thursday 7th May 2020 is
an absolute must.

To give you a brief overview; the idea of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) came from the Conservative Party. This policy idea has been implemented as a way to boost local democracy by enabling local people to influence how their local police force is run (BBC, 2012). The first set of PCC elections were held in 2012 after it became part of the Conservative Party Policy in 2010.

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The role of the PCC is vital, considering as the PCC in your local area is the people's champion, representing for communities, by holding the Chief Constable and the police force to account. Crime is one of those issues whereby a good relationship needs to be established in communities with the PCC so the PCC knows where resources should be directed and ensure local people are getting value for money – by making the streets safer. By exercising your right to vote, you will highlight your concerns and priorities – which in return will underline to the newly elected PCC what their prioritises shall be.

So why should you participate in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections next year?

Too often in politics, we see the views of young people being reduced to mere sounds but no action due to a lack of participation in our democracy. There are various ways you can participate, and to list a few you could join your PCC candidate on the doorstep, delivering leaflets throughout the campaign and vote in the election on Thursday 7th May 2020.

Most PCCs are over the age of 40, which means they aren't as clued up as we are, about the issues that affect us. By getting in contact with your local candidates, before the election, voting on Thursday 7th May 2020 – or by postal vote if you won't be home – and keeping in contact with your PCC, you truly can influence their priorities. I am fortunate enough to be working with Rupert Matthews on his campaign in Leicestershire and Rutland (an absolutely fantastic candidate). He is encouraging young people to get involved in the election next year because he wants to know the concerns young people have with crime and how it affects our lives. And with the Conservative Party pledging to put 20,000 extra police officers on your streets in this General Election, your PCC will be devising the strategy of tackling crime and getting to decide where those additional police officers go.

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