Knife crime fears of young people in Blackpool

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Young people in Blackpool are calling for action to make the town's parks safer after tackling knife crime emerged as a priority for youngsters in the town.

Hundreds of teenagers who voted in the annual 'Make Your Mark' campaign said safety should be a focus for the coming year.

This year saw 6,213 young people in Blackpool vote in what is the country's largest consultation of young people.

Votes were cast on national and local issues which will now be the focus of campaigning at the UK Youth Parliament.

A total of 1,764 youngsters asked for more do be done to tackle knife crime, just behind mental health with 1,891 votes, while protecting the environment emerged as the main overall concern with 2,666 votes.

Andrew Speight, Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Blackpool, said members of the youth council had met with police cadet groups to discuss concerns over knife crime.

He said: "We heard overwhelmingly there should be more security cameras in Blackpool's parks, especially Stanley Park.

"Police should also target their patrols around parks as it is where gangs tend to gather.

"The youth council has heard how worried young people are about gangs in Blackpool's parks.

"We shall begin engagements with the police about realising the demand for more cameras in parks to hopefully make Blackpool's parks safer places for young people to go outside and enjoy."

Tackling mental health issues was among priorities for the third year running.

Andrew said: "Blackpool Youth Council is preparing to start a campaign which will see posters placed on bus and tram stops featuring techniques to achieve mental ease that don't all necessarily involve talking.

"We also aim to change the perception of mental health. People have negative connotations to mental health, but we envision a new image for it where it is seen alike physical fitness."