A joined up multi-agency response

About the issue

Local responses to reduce criminalisation need to be led by a multi-agency group, with a protocol that outlines clear roles and responsibilities and reflects the All Wales Protocol approach. ​

Data monitoring and reporting must be set up to identify good practice and local challenges such as hotspot locations where police are called out frequently to respond to minor incidents. Good data management enables agencies to gain insights into both the extent and the nature of problems, enabling them to develop targeted and effective responses.

All agencies should have systems in place to allow for the collection of relevant data and the ability to analyse and monitor it on a regular basis. Many forces have introduced a code for recording contact with children’s homes and they ask about care experience when children are brought into the police station. Multi-agency groups can facilitate data sharing, enabling a multi-agency response to identifying and tackling problems. This knowledge briefing from Howard League: ending the criminalisation of children in residential care gives some tips on how to do this.

Good practice

These good practice examples show how data management has enabled police forces and multi-agency partners agencies to address unnecessary police contact of care experienced – and non-care experienced children - in their areas.


Gwent has a local protocol to reduce the prosecution of Children Looked After, which aims to highlight and enhance the good practice already in place, and to strike a balance between the rights and needs of children, the rights of carers and the need to reduce prosecutions through effective use of restorative approached. The protocol clarifies different agencies roles and responsibilities, and its implementation is overseen by a multi-agency group of professionals​.​

Dyfed Powys Police 

An analysis of force data revealed that missing incidents were one of the main reasons children’s homes were calling the Dyfed-Powys Police. The force inspected homes’ logs for calls to the police related to missing incidents and found significant discrepancies with their own, for example one home had called the police 22 times but had only recorded four of those calls in their own log. The force started to provide a monthly spreadsheet to Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) detailing all the calls they have received from homes that month and any other relevant information. It was agreed with CIW that three calls in a month from any home would trigger a joint inspection by the police and CIW.​

Bridgend Youth Justice Service 

A Quality Assurance report highlighted issues within local children’s homes. Data analysis found that children were being referred for low level criminal offences and assaults on staff. In response to this finding Bridgend YJS has started sending a restorative justice trainer into children’s homes to teach staff restorative approaches to handling disputes and to help them understand where the children and young people are coming from.