Police-led interventions with “at-risk” young people raise a number of debates around policing in society including the allocation of resources at a time of fiscal austerity, the extent to which the police should prioritize the safety and well-being of young people, and the role that the police should take in preventing youth crime. This article explores the impact and effectiveness of a police-led social crime prevention initiative in England. It adopts the QUALIPREV approach by Rummens, Hardyns,Vander Laenen, and Pauwels on behalf of the European Crime Prevention Network to analyze the data allowing for a detailed and replicable analysis of core aspects including police engagement, risk management, offending rates, and police–community relations. Drawing on comparisons between the UK case study and previous studies on police-led social crime prevention projects in Australia and Canada, this article identifies a number of common challenges for schemes of this nature including problems with multiagency working, developing a clear project identity, unequal resources across different locations, and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining volunteers. However, there were also significant benefits to such schemes, including positive impacts on offending rates, engagement of at-risk young people, and wider benefits to the communities within which the young people live, including participation, volunteering, and reduction in risks of community harm. A cost–benefit analysis also shows such schemes have the potential to offer significant savings to the criminal justice system as a whole.
- Social Crime prevention, Police-led intervention, Working for reward, Youth offending