In August 2013 the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children announced a public consultation on children and the police. IARS has submitted a response that draws on our experiences of researching the police’s relationships with children and young people, how they seek to engage with them and children and young people’s views of the police. This is supported by views shared by 21 young people (19-25years) in a workshop on 9 September 2013, facilitated by our Big Lottery Fund programme London Youth Now.

Key points raised by IARS’ response:

Children and young people’s experiences of interacting with the police

  • More resources need to be invested into improving relations between young people and the police
  • It is crucial that the voices of young people are listened to and meaningful community engagement is undertaken by the police

Police engagement with children from BME backgrounds: stop and search

  • We know that poor relations with the criminal justice agencies, overrepresentation and a history of discrimination and racial prejudice all play a part in distancing Black or minority ethnic groups from criminal justice providers and lowering their confidence in the system
  • Many of these issues arise early in the system, for example perhaps starting from interactions with police in a stop and search, and their effects are felt throughout the system

Good practice: participation, engagement and prevention

  • Strategies focusing on engagement, prevention and intervention have been widely documented as being the most effective for policing relating to children and young people
  • The root cause of any problems involving children and young people need to be thoroughly understood in order for appropriate and effective intervention strategies to be implemented
  • Local, youth-led projects play a crucial role in both generating ideas about improving relations between children and the police, tackling youth crime from a genuine youth perspective and also engaging young people in positive activities.

To download a copy of IARS’ consultation response from our online library, please click here.


For further information about IARS’ policy work or to express an interest in working on a joint submission in the future, please contact: