New guidance is being launched to help police officers prevent crime and other problems by intervening early to help children and families that need support.
Police services are absorbing some £1.8 billion of the cost of dealing with young offenders, domestic violence and anti-social behaviour costs, according to analysis by the Early Intervention Foundation. This is more than one-third of the total cost to public services.
A significant proportion of police call outs are also related to welfare and social problems including mental health.
The Early Intervention Foundation and the College of Policing have teamed up provide a practical guide to help frontline police identify children, young people or families needing support and respond effectively.
Association President Irene Curtis, who will address the launch event at the House of Commons, said:
“Early intervention is a far more efficient use of public funds and there is a wealth of evidence to illustrate how effective it can be at crime prevention. It also presents an opportunity to reduce future demand for many public services including health, education and the social services.
“Police officers and PCSOs are very often in the right place to identify the signs that a young person or a vulnerable family may need particular support, but they need first to understand what those signs are and how best they can start the process of getting the right help – which very often will come from others in the social care system.
“Early intervention is not always popular as it can take time for results to show, but it is a prime example of spending to save. It is an essential investment to manage demand across the entire public sector for the long-term.”
The guide offers advice on the warning signs and has been developed in consultation with police officers, police community support officers, police and crime commissioners and other experts.
It will be first of a series of Early Intervention guides for different professionals including GPs and teachers.