Policing young people: Perceptions of trends and changes over the last twenty-five years

Research Institution / Organisation

Wrexham Glyndwr University

In Collaboration With

An anonymous United Kingdom Police Force

Principal Researcher

Wayne Cronin-Wojdat

Level of Research


Project Start Date

May 2016

Research Context

The purpose of the study is to obtain information about police officers’ perceptions of policing youth anti-social behaviour. The study will explore if, during the last twenty-five years, any changes have occurred about the definition of youth anti-social behaviour, how it is policed, and the reasons for any changes. The study will consider the benefits and disadvantages of any changes to policing youth anti-social behaviour. It will explore whether an officer's personal perceptions of policing youth anti-social behaviour differ from those expected of them while they are on duty.

The enactment of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 marked a highly momentous change in policing anti-social behaviour. A review of the academic literature found that few examples of research existed about police officers’ perceptions of youth anti-social behaviour, and those examples were after the enactment of the Act. The research is unique as it considers police officers’ perception of youth anti-social behaviour before the Act, and explores how they have changed since the introduction of it. The justification for the research is that it fills a gap in the current academic research into the topic, offering a new perspective and knowledge about policing youth anti-social behaviour. 

Research Methodology

The research involves recruiting a purposive sample of about twenty-five serving police officers to take part in the study voluntarily. The criteria for eligibility to become involved in the research is that the participant must have a minimum of twenty-two years of police service. The criteria are so that the respondent has the required length of service to enable them to answer the research questions, with enough knowledge of policing youth anti-social behaviour before and after the enactment of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Access to the participants is via a gatekeeper, the Chief Constable of the hosting police service, to give their consent for their organisation and its serving police officers to take part in the research, and facilitate the initial contact with possible volunteers. The Chief Constable will be asked to send an email to all the members of their organisation to help recruit participants. Volunteers wishing to participate in the research are asked to contact the researcher directly. All participant will need to sign a written participant consent form before taking part in the study, and they will receive a copy of that form. 

To protect the respondent’s anonymity the researcher and respondent will mutually agree a location to meet. The researcher will conduct semi-structured interviews with the respondents. For legal reasons, respondents will be reminded not to mention any ongoing cases and the specific details of any past cases. To ensure the interviewer covers all the essential research questions they will use an aide-memoir during the interview. A significant benefit of a semi-structured interview is they allow the flexibility to clarify and explore themes identified by the respondents during the research.

The data analysis uses a constant comparative approach. The three-stage data coding method is inductive allowing theories to emerge from the data.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

November 2020
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