Police as mentors: analysis of how a police mentor program can impact the lives of ‘at risk’ young people

Frame, Ian L. (2020) Police as mentors: analysis of how a police mentor program can impact the lives of ‘at risk’ young people. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Project Booyah was created to build on the concept of community, re-engaging youth that had displayed signs of isolation, disconnection and/or criminogenic behaviours. Through police mentorship, the objective is to guide each young person in a successful and fulfilling direction through intercepting, educating and supporting individuals facing adversity and poor decision making. Project Booyah incorporates police mentoring through a resilience program called RESPECT, adventure-based learning principles, vocational scholarships and strategic partnerships that ultimately support post program employment and/or educational opportunities. Mentoring aims to have a positive influence on the behaviour and attitude of participants and reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system, through enhancement of their consequential thinking capabilities, choosing peers with a positive influence, reducing substance use, engaging in healthy recreational activities and assisting with improving home environments through positive relationships.

To date, there has been limited research investigating the effects of a police mentoring program on ‘youth who are at risk’. A review of previous research indicated effective youth mentoring can result in significant improvements in the relationships of young people, academic performance, criminogenic behaviours and attitudes, and an increase in a young person’s self-concept. Project Booyah adopted best practice processes of youth mentorship, so police mentors could utilise proven characteristics to provide positive outcomes. Griffith University recently completed an evaluation of Project Booyah through examination of processes, outcomes and a cost analysis. Their paper examined all aspects of the program that could then be drawn upon to determine the effectiveness of police mentoring.

The findings indicated the program uses best practice methodologies and post-program, young people reported significant differences in the areas of self-esteem, self-control and health behaviours and knowledge. The young people reported lower levels of aggression, reduced delinquency and improved relationships with parents/carers. The paper reports the young people who completed the program were more likely to be engaged in education and employment than those that did not complete the program. The paper significantly noted a positive effect in reduced offending both throughout the program, with 74.3% not offending and post program, with 54.4% not offending any further. The paper concluded police mentoring is a key feature of Project Booyah.

Police mentoring studies have not been explored in any great depth. The research conducted by Griffith University provides insight into the benefits of police mentoring in Project Booyah. This thesis will explore the role of police officers as mentors and how this has contributed to the reduction in anti-social tendencies, improvements in health and relationships, increase in education and employment opportunities and a reduction in crime of youth who are at risk through the Project Booyah program. This thesis will introduce a conceptual model that was built whilst considering all the components of Project Booyah that was supported by literature to promote best practice. This model has driven change within the program and challenged the author to pursue a futuristic conceptual model to have more far reaching implications for the community. This paper will analyse the research completed by Griffith University to conclude the positive impact that police mentors has on the lives of young people participating in Project Booyah, and the far-reaching implications on society and the fiscal gains for the government and community, will be analysed.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Master of Professional Studies
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Supervisors: Harmes, Marcus; Fergusson, Lee; Ryan, Naomi
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2021 06:03
Last Modified: 17 May 2022 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: police as mentors; youth at risk
Fields of Research (2008): 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
Fields of Research (2020): 48 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 4805 Legal systems > 480507 Youth justice
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/4WT1-A676
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42374

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