|In 2006, in an effort to improve the relationship between the police service and the community, build relationships and decrease gang recruitment, the Toronto Police Service introduced the Youth in Policing Initiative. The initiative is a summer employment program with the Toronto Police Service. It employs 157 youth, aged 14–17, drawn from designated priority neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto. The initiative began as a three-year pilot project from 2006 to 2009, after which it received permanent funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
|Through the Youth in Policing Initiative, the Toronto Police Service seeks to build positive relationships between police and youth, showcase the police service to young people and the priority neighbourhoods they are from, and provide meaningful employment and work experience to the youth that are hired.
|The objectives of the Youth in Policing Initiative are being met. An internal evaluation conducted in 2011 found that the program has a positive effect on police–youth relations and interactions. It also found that policing is increasingly seen as a positive career choice. Youth participating in this initiative have shown improved self-discipline, attendance and performance at home and in school and have gained marketable work skills. They have shown signs of becoming more self-assured and have begun to hold informal leadership roles in their peer groups. This program has also benefited the police by providing them with a more positive outlook on and better understanding of the youth in Toronto communities. Over the long term, this initiative seeks to further improve police–youth and police–community relations and reduce youth participation in criminal gangs.
|This program required funding in the amount of $685,000 in the first year and $585,000 in subsequent years. Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The Toronto Police Service contributes salary costs for the coordinator and the supervisors in the units and divisions.
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