Conceptualizing police perceptions of the parents of youth in conflict with the law

Bennett, Brittany A. P. (2022) Conceptualizing police perceptions of the parents of youth in conflict with the law. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Broadly defined as a member of society given certain rights and tasked with certain obligations from the state, it is clear throughout social sciences literature that the consideration of citizenship is tied to the age of majority. Within scholarship exploring what citizenship means for those under the age of majority, there has been little attention paid to the position of police in young people’s journeys toward citizenship. Drawing from qualitative data collected through one-on-one interviews and focus groups with rural Atlantic police officers, I build on youth citizenship literature by examining police officers’ interpretations of policing youth and their experiences interacting with the parents of youth. In the results, I document police officers’ perceptions of their authority and their perceptions of the authority of parents in addressing concerns with young people. A total of 128 police officer participants took part in the study; 76 participants engaged in one-on-one interviews and 52 participants took part in focus groups. Police in this sample discuss how they feel parents use police as a parenting tool, how they believe parents can contribute to youth accountability, and how they suggest parents can influence youth attitudes towards policing legislation. Drawing on theories of governance, I argue that police officers’ perceptions of the policing and parental management of youth behaviour reflect a view of young people as less than ideal citizens. Youth are considered unable to work toward the responsibilities required of an ideal citizen without the guidance and mentorship from authority figures such as parents and police working simultaneously in both the private and public arenas of young people’s lives. This suggests that better policing policy and practice should include engagement and communication between police and parents regarding the expected roles and responsibilities of each authority figure in young people’s lives.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15535
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-112).
Keywords: policing youth; parenting youth; governance; youth crime; youth citizenship
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: May 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Youth--Government policy--Atlantic Provinces; Youth--Psychology--Atlantic Provinces; Youth--Services for--Atlantic Provinces; Youth--Services for--Law and legislation--Atlantic Provinces; Juvenile delinquents--Atlantic Provinces; Police services for juveniles--Atlantic Provinces; Police-community relations--Atlantic Provinces; Parenting--Atlantic Provinces; Juvenile delinquency--Atlantic Provinces; Citizenship-- Atlantic Provinces.

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