Police responses to safeguarding concerns – what do young people think?

‘There is no point in spending ages setting up and carrying out research if you don’t put the same amount of effort into sharing the findings’ said one of our project advisors recently, and it is so true. As researchers at the International Centre we have the enormous privilege of listening to children and young people share their thoughts, opinions and experiences with us. Active dissemination of research findings is critically important in order to give these reflections due respect and use them to improve things for other children and young people.

Last year 45 young people shared their opinions with us on what the police do well when they respond to worries about a young person’s safety, and what they don’t do so well. The complete findings were written up in this report. In addition to this we had funding in the budget to produce an output that would be more accessible for both young people and busy professionals. We worked closely with the young people’s advisory group to produce the following publication


The young people’s advisory group provided a brief for the designer, feedback on the text, and agreed a final version to make sure it reflected what young people had told us accurately. They also considered the research findings, and made the following statement to sum up one of the key messages from children and young people about their involvement with the police.


The report details what children and young people told us about:

  • their feelings of going to the police for help;
  • what is important to children and young people when the police become involved in their lives to keep them safe;
  • police responses to children and young people who go missing;
  • what it’s like when the police need to take evidence; and
  • the complaints process.

You can find a longer description of the research findings in this blog post. For now we’ll leave you with some of the key findings in the words of the children and young people who kindly gave their time so that the police could learn from those they are there to protect.


We are in the process of sending out hard copies of this booklet to everyone who took part in the research. If you took part, or you work with young people who took part, and haven’t yet received your copy please email Elizabeth.ackerley@beds.ac.uk.

You can find more information about the research process and findings in this presentation. If you are a police officer and would like to hear more about this project the findings will be presented at the CSE and Policing knowledge hub exchange event on the 22nd of November in Birmingham, please contact Fiona.factor@beds.ac.uk for more information.