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Police Opinions on the Deployment of Civilian Youth Development Officers

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Dated: Autumn 2000 Pages: 19-24
Ann L. Parker; Philip B. Mohr
Date Published
6 pages
This study examines opinions of operational police officers on the deployment of civilian youth development officers (YDOs) in a South Australian metropolitan police station.
Two YDOs were employed in 1997 as liaison with police, youths, and appropriate support services in the district. The primary aim was diverting at-risk youths from the juvenile justice system. The study surveyed 201 police officers, among whom officers with and without experience of the YDOs were represented in approximately equal numbers. The high level of acceptance and approval by police, both in principle and in practice, endorses the deployment of civilian specialist staff as an option to be considered in policing young offenders. Analysis indicated that whether or not officers had first-hand experience of working YDOs was reflected in their opinions; those who had worked with YDOs agreed more strongly. A comparison of the two groups of respondents invited the conclusion that exposure to the YDO program was associated with a firming both of support for the program and of the view that the work performed was not work that should be done by police. The deployment of civilian staff with special responsibilities is one means for the delivery of a more proactive approach to dealing with juvenile offenders. There is a strengthening of the view, already widely held among police, that the work done by such staff is not work that should be done by police. 1 table and 12 references.