In 2021, NYAS launched Trouble With the Law, a campaign calling on on all Police & Crime Commissioners to recognise vulnerable young people within crime plans across England and Wales. As we close the campaign one year later, we're checking if Police and Crime Plans are working to end the disproportionate criminalisation of care experienced young people.
Today (Thursday 22nd September 2022), NYAS has released an analysis of 43 Police and Crime Plans across England and Wales, tracking their support for care-experienced children and young people. As part of our Trouble with the Law campaign, we have written to every Police and Crime Commissioner and Mayor responsible for policing, sharing findings from their strategies.
When did NYAS launch Trouble With the Law?
During the 2020-21 Police and Crime Commissioner elections, NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) launched the Trouble with the Law campaign calling on all Police and Crime Commissioner candidates across England and Wales to protect care-experienced children and young people by pledging that they would:
- Work to keep care-experienced young people out of the criminal justice system.
- Never make policies about young people, without young people.
- Protect victims of exploitation and missing children.
- Campaign to end the life-long stigma of criminal records.
49 Police and Crime Commissioner election candidates from 31 policing areas pledged their support.
Many police forces can be proud of their efforts to treat care-experienced children as children first, not criminals. The right steps are being taken, but it is in the gift of all Police Commissioners to speed up the journey to child-centred policing. More must be done to keep care-experienced children and young people out of prison so that they can flourish
Rita Waters, NYAS Group CEO
Are Police Commissioners and Mayors supporting care-experienced young people?
A year on from the policing election, NYAS analysed 43 Police and Crime Plans across England and Wales in a bid to identify areas where the pledge was adopted and where care-experienced children and young people have been prioritised. You can read a report of our findings in English and Welsh. We found that:
- 10 Police and Crime Commissioners included one or more of our campaign recommendations.
- Only eight Police and Crime Plans explicitly mention children in care and care leavers.
· Most Police and Crime Plans focused on child sexual abuse and exploitation in the context of victim support but rarely were links made to children who go missing from care.
What Happens Next?
We have written to all current Police and Crime Commissioners and relevant Mayors to highlight how care-experienced children and young people can be better protected and supported. Read our letter here.
The national magazine Policing Insight has also published an article co-authored by NYAS’ Public Affairs and Engagement officer (Tobiloba Osogbiye) and Research and Policy Assistant (Jennifer Downie).
This is the final report in our Trouble with the Law campaign, but NYAS is always available to support efforts to improve outcomes for care-experienced children and young people. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you work in this policy area and would like to discuss the campaign analysis report.
Keen to learn more about our analysis? Read the report below.