|The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Crime Reduction Unit in ‘J’ Division implemented the Youth Intervention and Diversion Program (YIDP) in 2009. YIDP is an evidence-based program designed to divert youth aged 12–17 away from the criminal justice system. Using the scientifically validated Risk/Need/Responsivity (RNR) approach to youth crime, the YIDP focuses on screening low- and no-risk youth out of the criminal justice system altogether while referring moderate- and high-risk youth to community services. Police officers refer youth to specially trained Youth Intervention and Diversion Teams made up of civilian and uniformed members of the RCMP. The teams screen for risk factors and, where appropriate, refer youth to a multidisciplinary Youth Intervention and Diversion Committee. The committee completes assessments, does case planning and refers youth to appropriate community services. The YIDP is led by civilian members of the RCMP called Community Program Officers (CPOs) and uniformed crime prevention personnel.
|The program objective is to reduce crime and incarceration rates for youth by getting the right youth to the right services at the right time. This model seeks to make full use of community resources to address the underlying causes of crime. It ensures the strategic use of resources by referring moderate-risk youth to community services so that only high-risk youth are sent into the already overburdened court and correctional system. The program also seeks to influence decision makers to streamline funding to those programs proven to be effective in addressing the root causes of crime.
|The Youth Intervention and Diversion Program is now one of the major components of ‘J’ Division’s crime reduction strategy. To date, 871 youth have been screened using the validated screening tool. About 110 youth are now referred to the program each month, of which about 75 are referred on to community services. The RCMP expects to see an eventual reduction in risk factors, which in turn will lead to a reduction in youth crime and incarceration. A program evaluation is planned.
Based on the success of this program, the division has moved away from costly and largely ineffective school-based education and awareness programs. Training CPOs as crime prevention personnel who focus on youth crime has freed up frontline officers for other duties.
|This initiative relied on the reassignment of existing officers from Community Policing or Crime Prevention units. The program received $200,000 over two years from the federal Department of Justice to support training efforts; however that funding was not essential to the success of the initiative.
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