Fedster + 1,307 Posted July 29, 2018 Share Posted July 29, 2018 Law enforcement needs to recognise offenders under 25 years old may have 'stunted maturation'. The police service needs to rethink its treatment of adults under 26 or risk alienating an entire generation, researchers say. The Police Foundation has raised concerns the current policing response to young adults is “not suitable” and said a distinct, tailored approach should be developed for policing 18-25 year olds. Suggestions included new training - particularly in stop and search - for managing young adults, supervising new recruits’ early contact with young adults and extending youth criminal justice diversion schemes. “Academic research demonstrates significant variation in the development of maturity among young adults aged 18 to 25,” a paper from the organisation says. “As we gradually develop a more sophisticated understanding of the young adult brain, the criminal justice system must consider how these disparities in development can affect behaviour, and recognise that the current cliff-edge of an 18th birthday is often an arbitrary date that bears little relation to the reality of young adult offenders’ lives. “In addition, psychological research shows that variation in levels of psychosocial maturity can be hugely significant and thus in some cases an individual aged 24 or 25 may in fact possess a similar psychological maturity to an individual ten years their junior.” It added criminology research typically demonstrates young adults “grow out” of crime in their mid-20s as they move out of their childhood bedrooms, become parents and start working full time but poor job opportunities and spiralling house prices are delaying the maturation process. According to the report, the proportion of 20-34 year olds living with their parents reached a record high of 26 per cent in 2017. “It is increasingly recognised that the factors described above should be taken into consideration when deciding how to police young adults,” the report adds. “A lack of understanding of the challenges facing this group, and how they may impact on their decision making and behaviour, could lead to a generation who enter adult life with both reduced life chances and negative perceptions of the police – both of which might have implications for future offending. “The contextual drivers outlined above are unlikely to change dramatically in the coming years, as widespread austerity and cuts to local authority budgets continue. "Policing should consider how it can help to address the issue and what a distinct approach to individuals aged 18 to 25 might look like.” The study points out that 18-25 year olds are not distinguished as a separate age group in police statistics, making it difficult to map trends in offending. Organisational culture was described as a key barrier to engaging with young adults as officers are reluctant to be seen as “soft” on adult offenders. “There is a wider question here about how best to influence police culture and inspire a shift in attitudes towards young adults, in a similar manner to the sea change in the police approach to under-18s," the research paper adds. Police leaders were criticised for a “general lack of appetite to volunteer to be at the forefront of any genuine change” while a lack of structure among PCCs meant they could not share best practice. Researchers also noted a “significant disconnect” between official policy and senior officer statements and “the actual day-to-day practice of police officers”. The Metropolitan Police’s new Divert scheme offering young adult offenders an alternative pathway from crime by pointing them in the direction of apprenticeships and support programmes, was praised as "one of the best examples of a specifically police-led initiative” for young adults. Similar initiatives should be introduced across to country and developed with the guidance of the College of Policing, the report said. The Police Foundation also wants to work closely with six police force areas interesting in trialling a new approach and offers to help formulate implementation plans so it can review point-of-arrest diversion projects and training for officers. View On Police Oracle 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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