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RGP School Forum

Police officers were back in Bayside School to talk about issues affecting young people this week.

Year 10 pupils were invited to the hour-long forum where they discussed topics including anti-social behaviour, underage drinking, drug use and their place in the local community.

This is the 5th forum the RGP’s Neighbourhood Policing Team has organised at the school in the past few weeks and follows talks to pupils in years 7, 8, 9 and 12.

It’s hoped the forum will help generate some new ideas on how the police deal with issues involving young people and the wider community.

One suggestion put forward by pupils, in response to recent reports of vandalism and littering in Varyl Begg Estate, is for them to take responsibility for clearing the area of rubbish at the end of lunch.

This would show the residents that not all those who wear the school uniforms have no respect and that they should not all be tarred with the same brush, because of a minority of individuals who create issues in the area.

Another idea from the students was awareness talks in the school by someone who can explain how criminal convictions had negatively impacted on their and their families lives.

Sgt Calum Bruce, who chaired the meeting alongside PC Nicholas Ramagge and Caroline Dixon from the Youth Service, said: “If this is a general cross section of Gibraltar’s youth, then it’s fair to say we were impressed by their openness, honesty and the maturity in which they articulated their ideas.

“They also explained their views on both legal (alcohol) and illegal drugs, and the changing views on their impact on communities. The topic of how much they are influenced by their parents and those around them, in their behaviours as they

mature, was discussed, with them adding that the adults in their lives need to take responsibility and lead by example, giving them positive role models to emulate.”

Sgt Bruce added that social media was also having a huge impact on the lives of youngsters, who highlighted that they are constantly exposed to negative news, which they said affected how they see the world.

“We hope to continue using this forum with all schools and all age groups in the coming months,” he continued.

“We’ll use this feedback to help us better understand how the RGP and other agencies interact with Gibraltar’s youth.”