Working with GMP on an Evaluation of ‘We Move’: an intervention project for young people at risk of organised crime.
In Greater Manchester, the ‘We Move’ intervention programme was introduced in May of 2022 to help prevent child criminal exploitation (CCE) by organised crime groups. The programme is funded by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority and forms the PREVENT arm of the force’s organised crime strategy, under the banner of its Programme Challenger network. Across the country, interventions targeting young people at risk of CCE have been introduced, however, evaluations of these programmes have been sporadic and further work is needed to inform what works (and why), and to demonstrate cost-effectiveness of the programmes. CPRL were approached to undertake a process and (early) impact evaluation as a piece of action research to help inform the implementation and development of the programme throughout its initial 18-month pilot period.
The 'We Move' Programme
The intervention programme is designed to target 12 to 18-year olds across Greater Manchester who have been identified by GMP and partners to be at risk of perpetrating or being a victim of violent crime because of peers, associates or family members’ involvement in organised crime, gangs or violent crime. Important secondary inclusion criteria are dis-engagement from education and evidence of mental ill-health. The aim is to match up to 56 young people with mentors who will provide up to 12 months one-to-one support, fund diversionary activities or training opportunities based on personal interests and aspirations, and to facilitate referrals to substance misuse and/or mental health support. The programme adopts a strengths-based approach, which links closely to current thinking on youth justice and early intervention, including a strong emphasis on contextual safeguarding and the central role of young people in changing the direction and narrative of their own lives.
To evaluate the implementation and (early) effectiveness of the programme, the CPRL has been commissioned to undertake up to 30 ‘before and after’ interviews with young people participating in the programme, as well as focus groups with mentors, a desktop review of programme documentation, analysis of management information and observations of programme management meetings. The researcher will also seek interviews with parents or guardians of young people who dis-engage or exit the programme early. A Theory of Change was developed to help identify the mechanisms of change in attitudes and behaviour which the programme intends to achieve, and to help identify the key research questions and themes the evaluation will go on to explore. This includes the use of ‘photo voice’ in baseline interviews to explore young people’s views on their current lives and personal identities, motivations for joining the programme and expectations of benefits arising, feelings of safety, role models/influences, and future goals and aspirations.
The We Move project represents a significant investment by GMP, GMCA and Programme Challenger towards our PREVENT strategy in tacking serious and organised crime. It was vital that with this investment came the necessary expertise from the outset to ensure that a robust and credible evaluation was in place to ensure; best practice, lessons learnt and value for money were all captured. To date, Dr Morrison has been first class in providing practical advice to meet our objectives and I would encourage anyone with such a project to involve the OU’s Centre for Policing Research and Learning as early as possible, they are a real asset. Inspector Jack Murphy, GMP's Programme Challenger
For further information on the 'We Move' evaluation, contact Dr Shona Morrison