The aim of this evaluation is to examine the implementation, delivery and impact of the Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention Service, a pioneering programme aimed at diverting young people away from a life of serious organised crime. 


Serious and Organised Crime has a larger impact on UK communities than any other national threat (National Crime Agency, 2020). It has been estimated that there are currently 350,000 individuals and 4,772 organised crime groups across the UK (National Crime Agency, 2020). The annual cost to the UK economy is over £37 billion each year, with Serious and Organised Crime rapidly growing and becoming increasingly complex as technologies are used to communicate and hide serious and organised crime activities. This proposal draws upon the international shared definition provided by the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and the European Union,

A group of three or more persons existing over a period of time acting in concert with the aim of committing crimes for financial or material benefit (Europol, undated)

These crimes include acquisitive crime, cybercrime, drug and human trafficking, fraud, firearms, money laundering as well as child criminal exploitation. There is currently limited evidence regarding the involvement of children and young people. 


The Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention Service has been running in Glasgow since 2013 and was rolled out to four other sites across the UK in 2019. The service is aimed at 11 to 18 year olds  who are known to statutory services as ‘perennial non-engagers’ and where previous attempts at diversion away from criminality have been unsuccessful. The service adopts a holistic approach in working with young people who will often have complex needs and high levels of risk. 

The project offers a bespoke service, identifying the individual drivers and causes of young people’s offending with the aim of empowering young people to make positive change. This is supported by three core elements of service delivery. First, provision of intensive case work such as 1:1 support, peer mentoring and evidence informed approaches. This is supported by the development of multi-agency working aimed at system-level change through information sharing, capacity building and developing effective responses to young people on the edge or involved in serious crime. Second, community-based early intervention and prevention with the young person’s wider network to deter and/or divert siblings, peers and associates away from criminality. Third, the project offers a whole-family approach working with family members and empowering them to support the young person’s journey onto more positive pathways.  

Activities and Methods

The aim of this evaluation is to examine the implementation, delivery and impact of the service across four sites in the UK on diverting children and young people from criminality based on (1) analysis of service data, (2) an online survey (3) semi-structured interviews, (4) case file analysis, and (5) analysis of police administrative data. In addition, the evaluation examines the thematic areas of identification, capacity building, multi-agency working, and targeted interventions


The two-year evaluation began on the 1st February 2021.

Lead Person

Principal Investigator Dr Nina Maxwell
FundersAction for Children
Related PublicationsCCE review