Dates: September 2022 – August 2023
Research Team: Birgit Larsson, Christine Cocker, Jane Hernon, Natasha Rennolds, Peter Lavender, Lucas Sempe and Suvarna Pande
Funder: Norfolk County Council

The study was an evaluation of the impact Norwich County Council’s New Roads service was having on the police. Its aims were to:

  • Analyse available police data involving young people from New Roads.
  • Identity the impact of the New Roads project on the Police Service in terms of intelligence and improved relationship with young people. 
  • Explore perceptions of the police and their experiences of the criminal justice system (both as victims and as offenders) by young people involved in New Roads. 
  • Articulate the impact on Norfolk Constabulary key performance metrics, and the cost avoidance New Roads has generated. 
  • Capture professionals’ views of information sharing and multi-agency working with the Police Service, including impacts on decision-making, culture and practice.


Key recommendations

The study recommended increasing the positive impact of police liaison officer work described in the evaluation and in more preventative ways such as police liaison officers expanding their work to young people seen through outreach and more work with bullied young people. Data also suggested a continuing and enhanced role for police liaison officers in the professional development of both Children’s Services staff and police officers and staff would be of benefit. 

Quantitative findings identified differences between the service sites, the most significant being that young people in Dereham remained with New Roads for a longer period of time. Because a longer time period may offer greater opportunities for persistence and perseverance, contributing to better outcomes for young people (JTAI, Ofsted, 2018), the study recommended the service examine the reasons for the differences between the two sites in terms of the length of time young people spend there. 

Quantitative analysis examined the characteristics and needs of young people in New Roads and demonstrated that a large proportion appeared in police data as victims, suspects and missing young people. Police liaison officers spent the majority of their time with a small group of young people, ‘outliers’ who stood out as having had more police contact (as victims, suspects and missing young people). A key recommendation is that police work with ‘outlier’ young people should be more specifically tailored to their individual needs, taking into consideration their mental health need and potentially undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disabilities in order to disrupt their negative pathways. 

Finally, the evaluation found a  strong awareness of the importance of education among police and New Roads staff including good efforts by New Roads staff to get young people into educational provision. However, some 28 per cent of New Roads young people were either not in education or training (NEET) or in alternative provision. Including an educational liaison officer within New Roads to work on young people’s aspirations, educational requirements and careers guidance would be of benefit. 

Read the research briefing