The Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) Young People Strategy 2021-2024 reflects the responsibility police have in reducing the dangers crime and violence pose to some of our youngest and most vulnerable demographics. This strategy was developed based on the current best practices and builds on our strong foundation of youth-focused programming so we can invest more wisely in all young people from 10 to 24 years of age who encounter the criminal justice system.
One of the goals of the EPS 2020-2022 Strategic Plan is to Balance Support and Enforcement. This balance is especially critical for young people.
In 2013, the EPS recognized the need for an organizational response to youth 12 to 17 years of age. There was increasing public concern around the number of youths committing crime and being victimized in the City of Edmonton. Analysis of young people–crimes showed that the magnitude of harm to and by young people was significant. In 2014, after extensive research and development, a Service-wide response was launched in the shape of a continuum of programming spanning engagement, intervention, and enforcement.
Mechanisms for holding young people accountable should not be the same as those for adults. Better understanding of the science of adolescent development and the factors that make some young people more likely to be involved in crime and/or be victims of crime can lead to improved interactions between police and young people.
In March 2020, a multidisciplinary team with expertise in policing young people was drawn from across the organization to lead the development of a young people strategy for the service. After reviewing 200 documents and consulting with 15 partner organizations, the Young People Strategy was born.
Police are one part of many services that work to support the safety and well-being of young people and are well positioned to assist young people and their families in navigating to and negotiating for the most appropriate supports, with help from our community partners and organizations.
It’s our mission to be relentless on crime and a leading partner in building community safety. With respect to young people, this means balancing enforcement and support in developmentally appropriate ways to:
- Hold young people accountable
- Refer and navigate young people and families to community programs, services or local agencies
- Treat young people fairly and ensure their rights are protected
This strategy reflects the collective input and suggestions from our membership, our partners, young people, and best practices in policing.
To read the strategy in greater detail, click here for more information.