THE voices of 1,500 young people from around North Yorkshire have been heard by police chiefs this week.

The North Yorkshire Youth Commission presented the results of the biggest consultation with young people in decades to police, youth workers and Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan at a meeting on Monday.

Made up of 30 young volunteers, the Youth Commission spoke with more than 1,500 young people and young offenders at colleges, schools and youth clubs to find out their recommendations on how police could better interact or respond to young people.

Georgia Patterson, 21, studying at the University of York, has been on the Youth Commission since July last year and has spoken with ex-offenders and other young people.

She said: "I think the main thing we need to get out of the youth commission is hearing the voices of and the views of the young people and passing those onto the decision makers. It's absolutely vital that their voices are heard and influence policy and decision making."

Presentations and workshops took place at the Priory Street Centre on Monday evening, with Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick and Mrs Mulligan taking part.

The group heard concerns from young people that there was a lack of confidence in reporting cyber bullying, as it was not clear what constituted a crime, and there was "a feeling of large scale helplessness as the problem often seems beyond our control".

Concerns were also raised about the need for better campaigns about so-called legal highs, highlighting the serious health issues and clarifying the law, and the way police perceived young people and those found in possession of drugs or legal highs.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said the timing of the report was "excellent", as the force is in the process of improving its youth policies.

He said: "It's high quality work. Over the last 30 years this is the most extensive work done with young people in the community, with over 1,500 different voices heard.

"Our vision is to be the most responsive police service in the country and you can't be truly responsive to the community if we only do it to segments. It's great to be scrutinised by an average age being closer to 18 or 20. We will look at all the recommendations that come out."

Mrs Mulligan, who set up the scheme last year, said the outcome of the research "will form the basis of a new youth strategy for North Yorkshire Police", and she hoped it would improve "the way the police deal with young people and the service that they get".