Chris Bakalis (aged 17) from Hertfordshire is Youth Mayor of the Borough of Broxbourne and will be questioning witnesses alongside other members of the Youth Select Committee on knife crime. Just like the UK Parliament Select Committees, the Youth Select Committee will produce a report based on its findings, which will be sent to the Government for comment.
The inquiry comes as a result of a UK-wide ballot of 1.1 million young people aged 11 to 18, in which young people declared knife crime their biggest concern.
More than 100,000 people signed a Parliament and Government petition demanding a debate on knife crime- resulting in Parliament debating the issue in March. Research from the House of Commons Library showed that knife crime, particularly where it affects young people, has been a ‘persistent and growing concern’ for successive governments.
Parliament’s Youth Select Committee gives young people the opportunity to scrutinise and hold inquiries into topics that matter to them. Following a call for written evidence, the 2019 Youth Select Committee will be hearing from a range of witnesses on 5 and 12 July inside the Grimond Room of the House of Commons, usually used by MPs.
Rachel Ojo, Chair of the Youth Select Committee from Essex, said: ‘Young people have made it very clear that knife crime continues to be a significant concern.
‘The Youth Select Committee want to hear from a whole range of people on this issue so we can find solutions that will have a demonstrable impact of the lives of young people.’
Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons said: ‘Every year the Youth Select Committee play a vital role in raising awareness about the issues affecting young people across the country.
‘This year the Committee’s determination to tackle the epidemic of knife crime is something that I wholly support. I will be following this pioneering Committee as they investigate the scourge of knife crime and I eagerly anticipate their report.’
Now in its eighth year, the Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council initiative, supported by the House of Commons. The eleven members of the Youth Select Committee are aged 15-18 and include Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Youth Councillors, a Young Mayor and representatives from each of the devolved nations.
The two evidence sessions will be open to the public and broadcast live on Parliament TV and UK Parliament YouTube.
DAY 2: Friday 12 July – Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Watch the AM session on Parliament TV here.
Watch Panel 3 on Parliament TV here.
You will be able to watch Panel 4 on Parliament TV on Monday 15 July.