This evaluation project is managed by the Vulnerability and Violent Crime Programme, which was set up by the College of Policing from a grant awarded by the Police Transformation Fund. It is one of eight projects overseen by the programme. The intervention, originally developed and currently implemented by North Yorkshire Police, uses intelligence to identify young people under 18 who are suspected of carrying knives or other weapons. Police or youth offending teams make an educational visit to the young person’s home or school. A conversation takes place with the young person, with their parent or guardian in attendance. The risks and consequences of carrying weapons are highlighted, and there is signposting to support services (for the young person and parent/guardian as appropriate). The Metropolitan Police will begin piloting this intervention in spring 2019 and will be included in the overall evaluation. The aim of the intervention is to educate young people at the earliest opportunity to reduce weapon carrying, raise awareness of risks and consequences, and to provide support to safeguard young people and reduce their likelihood of offending. The research project will evaluate the implementation of Operation Divan in North Yorkshire and the MPS. It will also explore the impact of the intervention on preventing the criminalisation of young people, keeping young people safe and prompting a culture change around knife carrying. A cost-analysis will be carried out to identify associated costs in delivering the intervention.
Administrative data will be analysed and interviews will be used. The impact of the intervention will be explored by following young people through the intervention to see what changes occur to reoffending and engagement with services. Police data will help inform the evaluation of the intervention. Depth interviews will establish the structures, resources and processes needed to run the intervention. Impact will be determined through the interviews, gaining understanding around how actions may have led to changes in the attitudes and behaviours of the young people. This will include interviews with young people targeted by the intervention, parents/guardians, and partner agencies.