Following the national recognition for our Policy Forum’s work on ending the unnecessary criminalisation of children and young people in care by the Howard League for Penal Reform last year, the London protocol on reducing criminalisation has finally been published in March 2021. We’re also delighted to find that the Policy Forum’s suggestion of a bespoke summary document aimed are young people has been realised as well.
Back in early 2019, the Policy Forum asked the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), Sophie Linden, to host a large-scale event at City Hall to focus on the unnecessary criminalisation of children in care. After months and months of planning, we hosted the event in September 2019. It was an inspiring afternoon of panels, films and speeches: all created by PF members. Our final ask of the day was for the Deputy Mayor to implement a protocol (aimed at the Met Police, children’s services, children’s homes and other stakeholders) to reduce the criminalisation of children in care. She agreed, and since then (despite Covid and other challenges) PF have worked closely with MOPAC to develop the protocol as well as a summary document aimed at young people.
This is a huge achievement for the Policy Forum – especially the criminalisation subgroup. This process is a perfect example of how change does take time, but that it is achievable. The Policy Forums new mission with regards to the protocol is to hold MOPAC to account to ensure that this protocol is properly implemented.
“We must ensure that all those involved in care experienced young people’s lives in London do everything in their power to divert them away from the criminal justice system. We must also now look to other areas of the UK, and ask them to implement similar protocols. In many ways, this is only the beginning!”Megan Davies, Head of Political Engagement