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How does policing best prevent violence – including through working with other organisations where the police are not the lead?

At the Youth Endowment Fund, our aim is to prevent children from becoming involved in violence. We believe that any effective strategy to reduce violence must acknowledge that children depend on seven key sectors for safety, this includes policing. Within each sector, we collaborate with delivery organisations and system leaders to gain deeper insights and implement changes that are most promising in reducing violence. 

Why are we focusing on policing?

Children who enter the criminal justice system are some of the most vulnerable children in society. Their offending will often mask underlying vulnerabilities including early childhood trauma and neglect, poor mental health and growing up in poverty.  

When children come into contact with the police, this is an opportunity to identify children who need support and to address these underlying causes of crime. Ensuring that vulnerable children get access to the support they need is likely to keep them safe from offending in the future. 

A recent analysis of cases where a child has come to serious harm found that the police were missing opportunities to identify vulnerabilities and keep children safe*. Inspection reports also suggest that, while police are improving at identifying and responding to signs of vulnerability in children, too many exploited children are criminalised. 

Toolkit evidence

See below evidence from the YEF Toolkit about approaches to reducing violence that are often used in the policing sector:

Estimated impact approaches evidence quality
(30%+ less violence)
Focused deterrence
1 2 3 4 5
(10%-30% less violence)
Hot spots policing
1 2 3 4 5
Pre-court diversion
1 2 3 4 5
Restorative justice
1 2 3 4 5
(2%-9% less violence)
1 2 3 4 5
Police in schools
1 2 3 4 5
Knife crime education programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Knife surrender schemes
1 2 3 4 5
Media campaigns
1 2 3 4 5
Trauma-informed training and service redesign
1 2 3 4 5
(increased violence)
Prison awareness programmes
1 2 3 4 5

Explore more approaches on YEF’s Toolkit summarising the best available research evidence on preventing children and young people’s involvement in violence.

Find out how you can get involved with YEF

You are invited to join our events specifically for the education sector, to see how we can collectively tackle violence prevention for young people.

To gain knowledge of what works, we are evaluating our funded projects in the policing sector, of which are listed below.