Academic team: Dr Shona Morrison
Policing partners: Police Scotland
Status: In progress
The Centre of Policing Research and Learning at The Open University will evaluate a test of change designed to reduce unnecessary police contact and criminalisation of children and young people in care homes in the Greater Glasgow region of Scotland. The test of change involves implementation of two protocols between care home staff and Police Scotland, with associated processes such as additional staff training and changes to recording practices.
If the evaluation findings are favourable, the protocol(s) will be rolled out across Scotland, and be used to inform police policy and guidance around residential care homes, safeguarding and crime recording practices. The evaluation will a) consider the evidence base for the approach used in Greater Glasgow, b) analyse police and care home data relating to reports of missing and criminal episodes, and c) undertake interviews/focus groups with young people in care, care home staff and police officers linked to care homes in a liaison capacity to examine their perceptions of the impact and benefits arising.
The perceived benefits of the programme to the young people include reduced unnecessary contact with police, reduced criminalisation and stigma, and to experience better care, safeguarding and appropriate responses from care home staff, improving relationships with staff and attitudes towards police.
The findings will be relevant to all policing partners as different practices to reducing criminalisation of care-experienced children are being adopted across the country (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Reducing stigma and criminalisation of looked-after children is a high priority for all governments yet the evidence base in this area remains limited.