Why do juveniles commit crime? New Evidence from England's linked administrative data

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Department Name: Centre for Economic Performance

Abstract

Youth violence has been widely discussed recently in the UK. Recent estimates from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that fatal stabbings and youth violence have hit a record high in England and Wales since the Home Office Homicide Index began in 1946. However, the origins, motivations and dynamics of youth crime are not well understood. Advancing our understanding of youth crime in the UK and offering coherent policy advice based on a robust evidence base is a priority for research, policy and policing.
This research project brings together academics from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and it applies analytical methods to the linked dataset from the UK Department for Education (DfE) and the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ). This extremely rich dataset enables linking of criminal records of juveniles with information on their educational trajectory on a national scale, providing the rare opportunity to advance our understanding of youth violence and help the design of informed policing and policy responses. By partnering and using interactively the extremely rich information contained in the linked DfE-MoJ dataset, the LSE and GMP teams aim to make a significant advancement to the current understanding of the origins and dynamics of youth crime, and to help translate the findings of this research into concrete evidence-based policy and policing practices that can help prevent youth crime in GMP and other UK police forces.
The benefit provided by this research relates directly to the core mission of the Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK), and we wish to apply to the ADR UK 'Strategic Research' Invite-Only Scheme. We need funding from ADR UK to produce rigorous evidence on the root causes of youth crime and to derive policy-relevant findings. This is a research priority for the current UK Government and demand from the current UK Government to use the research for the public good is reflected by its large investment (£200 million GBPs) in the Youth Endowment Fund. Both the short- and long-term causes of youth crime will be studied, including the educational experience of pupils, the length of exposure to compulsory schooling, and exposure to schooling programmes aimed at boosting human capital such as the Literacy and Numeracy Hour programmes. The methodological details of these research projects are provided in the Case for Support attached to this application.
By partnering with CEP (LSE), GMP wants to adopt a bold, innovative approach to tackle youth crime over the long term. While part of our analysis investigates policies from the early 2000s, we would like to analyse these to learn from the past and derive policing prescriptions for today. We will frequently exchange knowledge and we will advance a sustainable partnership, thus ensuring the use of the linked DfE-MoJ administrative dataset is maximised. We will involve analysts from GMP, ADR UK, DfE, Home Office and MoJ since the early stages of research creation, and we are willing to collaborate with ADR UK to modify our research effort and working practices in order to best suit the ADR UK's needs and priorities. The familiarity of GMP with the dynamics of youth crime in the UK and the analytical capacity of the LSE team will allow us to exploit the full potential of the linked DfE-MoJ dataset, advance our knowledge and understanding of the roots of youth crime, and enable vital research that has the potential to improve policing services in a sustainable manner. We will disseminate our findings to other UK Police Forces as widely as possible, as we expect the lessons learnt from this collaboration to apply also to other settings in the UK and provide guidance in deciding on policing responses to youth violence also elsewhere, thus ultimately ensuring the societal impact of this research.

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