Police Scotland has revealed a new four-year plan aimed at improving the life chances of Scotland’s children.
The Our Approach plan, unveiled at the force’s college in Tulliallan, sets out five priorities aimed at keeping children safe: engagement, prevention, victims and witnesses, safety and protection, and offending.
Young people on the force’s youth advisory panel helped develop the plan, and key points include pledges that police will increase opportunities to meet local officers, and promote a positive image of young people rather than focusing on negative aspects.
Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: “These priorities are more than just fine words; they link to direct action which will shape the work we do with children and young people over the coming years.
“Identifying these priorities allows us to make clear commitments to the way we support and protect them.
“It’s vital we listen, it’s vital we engage, and it’s vital we provide information about the police service for children and young people that will help them make informed choices.
“This can help them avoid risks ranging from substance abuse to threats emerging from the online world and other harmful behaviours.
“We are ready to start delivering on the commitments we are setting out today, which will help improve life chances and positive outcomes for all children and young people.”
He was joined at the launch on Thursday by the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing.
Ms Ewing said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this new approach to working with children and young people which, crucially, has been developed in collaboration with young people themselves.
“The safety and wellbeing of our children should always be our first priority, therefore I’m pleased to see Police Scotland taking forward a clear way ahead over the next four years.”
Tam Baillie, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, also praised the new plan.
He said: “It is an approach grounded in children’s rights, and one which clearly reflects the significant input of children and young people.”