I am delighted to introduce our Policing Approach to Children and Young People. The move to a single Police Service for Scotland has been significant and we have made a great deal of progress in a very short space of time. That said we are mindful of the lessons we have learned through those early years and what that means as we now look forward.
I recognise the need to set out our commitment to the children and young people of Scotland and the people who care for them. There are three key principles that are at the core of our Service – Integrity, Fairness and Respect. This is never more important than in the context of our engagement with children in their early years which will influence their perspective on policing for the rest of their lives.
We have set out the strategic priorities for our service; however, what you will see is a clear message throughout –Keeping Children and Young People Safe. It is central to our approach to all aspects of policing and our work with our partners. Identifying these priorities allows us to make clear commitments for the way we support and protect them. The 5 priorities are:
1. Safety and Protection
4. Victims and Witnesses
These 5 priorities are deliberately addressed to the children and young people of Scotland. They will link to an Action Plan that will direct our work over the next four years. The Action Plan will be subject to regular review. I firmly believe the priorities will provide the framework for the essential aspects of the work we must do over the coming years.
I believe it is important to put this in the context of the engaging message we wish to convey. We recognise that children and young people are vital and active parts of their communities.
As part of our work it is essential that we listen to children and young people across all communities and from all backgrounds. Only by hearing their voices and reacting accordingly, will we make this approach real and constantly test ourselves to make sure we are delivering a service that meets their needs.
Prevention is at the heart of what Police Scotland do and this is essential in the context of our children and young people. Our approach will provide them with information and help them make informed choices. This can help them avoid the risks that are present in society from substance misuse, the cyberworld and other harmful behaviours.
I recognise the contribution already made to this document and other areas of policing by the Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel. We will continue to engage with children and young people and those agencies which work with them across all of our communities.
Police Scotland are ready to start delivering on the commitments set out in this document. Importantly, we look forward to working with children and young people, parents and carers, wider communities, volunteers, professionals and elected members to ensure we collaboratively improve the life chances and positive outcomes for all children.
Working alongside Police Scotland to create ‘Children & Young People - Our Approach’ was a fantastic experience for the Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel (PSYAP) team. Supported by YoungScot, the national youth information and citizenship charity, the experience brought together all the skills, talent and insight that make the young people of Scotland such a valuable commodity to projects like this one. The communication between the panel, Young Scot and Police Scotland was superb and everyone really showed a commitment and drive to make this project the best it could be.
Praise was well received by both Police Scotland and PSYAP, but more importantly criticism was taken on board and any issues or concerns raised were dealt with in an extremely productive manner. This set down the foundation for the PSYAP to build their confidence, skills and experience, and most importantly create a wonderful relationship with Police Scotland and its officers.
This project was a challenge and one that both parties welcomed with open arms. Police Scotland, YoungScot and the Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel can look back at this project and be extremely proud that we, together, have improved the lives of young people all around Scotland.
Police Scotland Youth Advisory Panel (PSYAP)
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