News and updates

Support to improve the policing of young adults

Today the Police Foundation[i] and Revolving Doors Agency launch a Knowledge Exchange Network[iii] that brings together police Inspectors and Chief Inspectors from across England and Wales to co-create new and better ways of policing young adults aged 18-25.

The Network was born out of a growing evidence that the policing of 18-25-year olds needs a distinct approach. Young adults constitute less than 10 per cent of the UK population but make up to 30-40 per cent of all police cases. Evidence clearly shows that young adults do not reach full developmental maturity until age 25, and this lack of maturity can lead to unnecessary risk taking and impulsive behaviour. Many of these young adults are living in poverty, some are leaving care, large numbers are struggling with traumatic life events, some are at risk of sexual exploitation, and on turning 18 many experience a huge chasm between child-centred approaches and adult services in areas like housing, mental health and substance misuse.

This Network will provide police with much needed peer-to-peer learning and support, recognising the wealth of knowledge and expertise among police officers. Inspectors and Chief Inspectors across police services across England Wales will be able to share evidence and tackle difficult issues. The focus will be on upscaling innovation and practices that are evidence-based, that can become mainstream (i.e. business as usual).

The Network will focus on upscaling and mainstreaming evidence-based practice in areas such as:

  • Procedural fairness
  • Diversion schemes
  • Police’s role in responding to trauma and inequalities
  • Improving community engagement mechanisms

The Police Foundation and Revolving Doors Agency will:

  • oversee coordination and facilitation of the Network,
  • share research and international best practice,
  • involve young adults with lived experience of the criminal justice system to support discussions and learning,
  • disseminate evidence and learning on a national scale.

The Network welcomes Inspectors and Chief Inspectors from police services across England and Wales. The meetings will be held online every 6 weeks from 15th December. 

For further information please contact Stephen Walcott:

Pavan Dhaliwal, Chief Executive of Revolving Doors Agency said:

“We are delighted to announce this network which will bring a coordinated and evidence-led approach to policing young adults. The overwhelming majority of 18-25-year olds get caught in the revolving door of crime and crisis because of profound trauma and persistent poverty. Our police officers are not social workers, but they have the power and expertise to tailor interventions to meet the distinct needs of young adults. 

“The Network is neither about Revolving Doors nor the Police Foundation. It is about police services. We will work with your ideas and expertise and support you to understand evidence, disseminate best practice and support you to upscale innovation.”

Dr Rick Muir, Director of the Police Foundation said:

“Police professionals around the country are already pioneering new approaches to young adults.  Our hope is that by establishing this Network we can provide a space in which practitioners can share ideas and learning. Our aspiration is that the Network will act as a catalyst for the spread of evidence-based approaches.”


[i] The Police Foundation is an independent thinktank that researches, understands and works to improve policing for the benefit of the public. More information available here

[iii] The Network is funded by two independent trusts, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust. The Police Foundation and Revolving Doors Agency are a member of Transition to Adulthood Alliance that makes the case that developmental maturity is a better guide than age when deciding on the best response to offending by young adults. It has developed a robust case for a more effective approach to young adults. This has been achieved through research, pilot projects and supporting practitioners and policy makers. This programme of work is available at T2A website.