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Seen and Heard - young people, policing and crime: An MPA report


The MPA Youth Scrutiny, recently entitled, ‘Seen and Heard - young people, policing and crime: An MPA report’ was conducted between September 2007 and May 2008. The final scrutiny report, making 52 recommendations for the MPS and other organisations, was accepted by the MPA Full Authority meeting in June 2008.

The focus of the youth scrutiny was the causes, effects and impacts of young people’s involvement in crime as victims, witnesses and perpetrators and how this influenced their interactions and relationships with the MPS and other service providers who have a mandate to support and protect them.

Reducing youth victimisation and youth offending is a key concern for the MPS. The MPS commitment to addressing youth victimisation and youth offending has resulted in the police service setting the reduction of serious violence and protection of young people as a corporate objective for 2008–2011.

Further information can be found in the Policing London 2008–2011 Business Plan (Appendix 1 )

The MPS Youth Strategy, which includes implementation of the Every Child Matters agenda, will be supported and informed by the recommendations outlined in the MPA Youth Scrutiny.

The ‘Seen and Heard - young people, policing and crime: An MPA report’ report is available in three versions.

  1. Seen and Heard - young people, policing and crime: An MPA report (youth version) -  November 2008 [PDF]
  2. Seen and Heard - young people, policing and crime: An MPA report (adult version) - November 2008 [PDF]
  3. A word version of the adult version of the report will be available in December 2008.


A panel of MPA members and external partners directed the work of the scrutiny.

  • Richard Sumray (chair)
  • Cindy Butts (deputy chair)
  • John Roberts
  • Camila Batmanghelidjh – Director of Kids Company
  • Susannah Hancock – Youth Justice Board London Regional Manager
  • DAC Rose Fitzpatrick – MPS

In addition to the adult panel, a reference group of 26 young people was set up to ‘reality check’ decisions made by the panel and provide input on possible ways forward on key strands of work. The group of young people, ranging in age from 12 to 20, was representative of London’s diverse communities.

Terms of reference

The complete terms of reference are available. (see Appendix 2)

The objectives of the scrutiny were to identify ways to:

  • improve the confidence of young people to report crime and engage with the police as witnesses;
  • halt the decline in age of young victims of crime;
  • halt the decline in age of young perpetrators of crime;
  • address the criminalisation of young people in public discourse;
  • improve MPS strategy, policy and corporacy with regard to young people; and
  • improve in regards to the MPS’s involvement in partnership work with young people.

This scrutiny did not focus specifically or extensively on specialised areas such as child trafficking, paedophilia and other elements of the Safeguarding Children strand of the Every Child Matters agenda. Likewise, issues of gun-enabled and knife-enabled crime were addressed but were not focal points for the work.


The most fundamental component of the scrutiny was engagement with, and participation by, young people in the scrutiny process.

In the light of this, the scrutiny’s methodology included:

  • A literature review
  • Statistical research and analysis
  • Consultation with police
  • 14 expert witness sessions with adult stakeholders working with young victims and or young offenders
  • 28 adult stakeholder interviews

Consultation with young people included:

  • All 32 MPA funded Community Police Engagement Groups (CPCGs and equivalents) were asked to consult in their London borough with local young people. 18 groups took part.
  • a pan-London hearing held in Westminster
  • three sub regional hearings held in Islington, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets
  • six focus group sessions with young people
  • an online and offline survey

There are a total of 52 recommendations in the Youth Scrutiny report. Whilst the majority of the
recommendations are targeted at the MPS, the MPA also included advice for other statutory agencies and pan London organisations. A key finding of the youth scrutiny was that long term-sustained solutions to tackle youth crime could only be developed through effective partnership responses. The MPA is in the process of contacting all agencies listed in the recommendations and will request that they consider and respond to the MPA findings and in particular those recommendations that pertain to their work.

The MPS will be formally responding to the MPA Youth Scrutiny at the 30 October 2008 Full Authority meeting.

Young people in London question Commissioner Ian Blair

On 27th March 2008 Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner, MPS, attended the Westminster hearing with young Londoners. He told the participating audience of young Londoners that

'Young people in London are an enormously important part of London and an enormous asset ... The Met's view is that young people are not the problem; they are the solution'.

During the evening's lively discussion and debate many young people wrote questions down for Sir Ian on post-it notes for him to answer after the event.

The Commissioner responded to each of these questions and comments personally. We thought it would be a good idea, with the Commissioner's agreement, to share these (anonymised) questions and answers with interested members of the wider public.

For more information on the Youth Scrutiny or if you would like to receive a copy of the report, please contact:

Oversight and Review Unit
Metropolitan Police Authority
10 Dean Farrar Street
Tel: 020 7202 0161
Fax: 020 7202 0100
Minicom: 020 7202 0173

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