Introduction and Background

1.1 Children and young people in Scotland are an integral part of the communities Police Scotland serve. There are approximately one million children under 18 years of age in Scotland from diverse backgrounds with differing needs. Police Scotland is committed to working with all members of our communities.

1.2 It is crucial that we understand what we mean when we talk about children and young people. There are many different definitions of age in Scotland, particularly within legislation which makes defining an individual as a young person or a child more complex. In the past we have generally defined a child as being under 16 years of age. However, we recognise that nationally and internationally children are defined as under 18 years of age. We also realise that young people are considered to be between 18/24 years of age. Whilst the commitments set out here will largely focus on those below 18 years of age, we recognise the importance of our ongoing commitment to 18/24 year olds, particularly in areas such as engagement, prevention, vulnerability and safety. For more information on the context of age please visit United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

1.3 This approach sets out Police Scotland’s priorities and commitments to children and young people. The nature of modern policing and the rate of change within society have seen the need for tailored policing responses and solutions to ensure Police Scotland supports our children and young people and, most importantly, keeps them safe.