• Bolette Autzen Vogt
  • Mathilde Møller Sørensen
This master thesis contains an empirical investigation of how two Danish police districts work with crime prevention through the usage of concern conversations. The two police districts are Central and West Jutland Police and North Jutland Police. A concern conversation is an early and targeted effort for preventing juveniles of entering a criminal career. The purpose of the concern conversations is to convene juveniles below the age of 18 that display a deviating or criminal behavior to a conversation between the authorities and the juvenile in question. The concern conversations create an identification of the risks and resources in the juvenile’s life. By identifying such factors, the right focus can be applied by the police officers to help the juvenile towards a conform life course. The master thesis investigates the usage of the concern conversations to analyze if such is used in practice at the two police districts or if the individual police officers in some instances create their own concept when conducting the conversations. This thesis investigates therefore the practical usage of the concern conversations and which promotional and inhibitory factors can be identified using the tool to achieve crime prevention. It is a contribution through empirical and criminological insight to the application of the concern conversations in the two police districts. This is investigated through a qualitative method using a multiple case research design with an adaptive approach of considering the empiricism and the theory. The empirical part of this master thesis consists of quantitative data of the factual use of the conversations in the period of 2013-2016, police documents regarding concern conversations from 2015 and two workshops with preventive officers.
The quantitative data emphasizes that the two police districts are similar in terms of the frequency of the conversations and how the juveniles are distributed according to age and gender. The majority of the conversations regard males with a slight weight in occurrences of juveniles above the criminal age. ‘Crime as the cause for concern’ is the most frequent cause of convening a concern conversation. Furthermore, the quantitative data demonstrates variable practices in terms of the follow-up efforts after the concern conversations have taken place. In most cases, the follow-up consists of a crosscheck in the police systems to see if the juvenile reappears in a criminal context. The follow-up and the importance of such have initiated the crime preventive officers’ reflections on the practices of the concern conversations. The officers have become aware of the need for uniform follow-up procedures so that the concern conversation does not stand alone without the initiation of action if such is needed. The national concept can, therefore, appear to be incomplete when the actions initiated range outside the reach of the police.
It has become apparent that the officers use their role to enforce the formal rules of the society and therefore sometimes use general deterrence to regulate the future behavior of the juvenile. In this relation one could ask whether this has the intended effect when effect evaluations of preventive initiatives show that deterrence does not influence criminal relapse. The two workshops and the accounts from the officers show that the concern conversations are sometimes used as a trust-building tool to create a positive relation to the youngsters. Furthermore, a list of factors for the preventive goal with the conversations can be derived. One of the challenges is that the target group of the concern conversations is unspecific. Also, it is important that the officers focus on the juvenile’s resources instead of problems because this secures a positive perspective of the future. The collaboration across the authorities is also an important factor because juvenile crime is a complex phenomenon that requires cohesive solutions. Currently the level of knowledge sharing that should occur between the different initiatives challenges the collaboration, because there is not clarity about when such information may be shared confer § 115 of ‘Retsplejeloven’. Fast intervention is important, where the current response time is assessed too long. The labeling-risk is reduced through the informal approach of the concern conversation. This is positive for the preventive purpose of the conversations, where a court process would negatively label the juvenile. The current training of the officers for such conversations consists of peer practice knowledge sharing, and as such, it is problematic that the officers are not formally trained in this practice. Based on the results of the master thesis the concern conversations appear to be an important element in the preventive efforts, but the investigation emphasize that the concern conversations should not stand alone, thus should be supplemented with other initiatives to support the juveniles’ future perspectives and opportunities.
Publication date23 Aug 2017
Number of pages121
External collaboratorMidt- og Vestjyllands Politi
Politiassistent Erik Hykkelbjerg ehy001@politi.dk
Nordjyllands Politi
Politikommissær Claus Serup cse004@politi.dk
Information group
ID: 260566583