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Youth commissioner post up for debate

Tuesday 24th March 2015

KENT Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes will speak with youth representatives before deciding whether or not to replace Kerry Boyd, whose contract as youth commissioner ended on March 5.

The role has not been without its controversy. The original youth commissioner Paris Brown quit over offensive remarks she made on social media and Kerry was suspended last year in connection with her relationship with married former councillor Robert Burgess.

Mrs Barnes said: “There have been tough times, certainly, but 20-year-old Kerry has risen to the challenge and we shall miss her dry sense of humour and quick wit.”

The police commissioner thanked those who had worked with and supported Kerry during her term of office, adding: “She has been a great advocate for my office and given up numerous evenings and weekends as she has travelled far and wide to get the widest views possible.”

She described a report written by Kerry during her time in office as “an excellent piece of primary research”, saying her role had already helped to influence her strategic plan for Kent Police.

As Kerry returns to her university course, Mrs Barnes said she would consider the best way of continuing the link between Kent police and young people.

She added: “Initially I shall be getting together a group of representatives of those who either speak on behalf of or work with young people. I have an idea about the best way forward but I want to sound it out with young people themselves and those who have direct experience of working with them.

“I am absolutely convinced, however, that we need to continue to listen and hear and not just talk at and tell. Above all we need to encourage those groups of young people who are perhaps more reticent to do so, to come forward – they are our future and they need to have a say on how their future is delivered.”