Positive Tickets: A New Way to Police
Ward Clapham, VP of Investigations and Recovery Services here at Absolute Software, recently shared with The Guardian his experience as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police superintendent and chief. During his years with the RCMP, he learned there was more to police work than just punishing crime, and came up with a simple way to do a lot of good: positive tickets.
“I can’t escape the realities of my job – I have to hunt down criminals. But could I also work on the other end of the spectrum? Could I build positive relationships strong enough to keep youth out of trouble? Could I serve as a mentor instead of a hunter? Could I learn to trust them? Could they learn to trust me?”
The answer was yes. The RCMP partnered with organizations and businesses in the community to provide positive tickets – vouchers for restaurants, movie tickets or entrance to something fun.
“The tickets were a great alternative for kids who would otherwise be bored, hanging on the streets, and possibly getting into trouble with the law. We gave out tickets for all sorts of good behavior – wearing a helmet while biking or skateboarding, using the crosswalks, skateboarding in designated areas, getting to school on time, speaking respectfully, etc. If you reward good behavior, your return on investment will be more good behavior. ” said Ward.
The main goal with the tickets is turning a police interaction into something positive. It is hoped that when the youth sees the officer the next time, it will start off on a positive note.
The results of this program are impressive. The Richmond RCMP Detachment, where Ward worked, was handing out 40,000 positive tickets a year (a 3 to 1 ratio compared to violations). As a result of several youth prevention initiatives, including positive tickets, youth-related service calls dropped by almost 50 percent, keeping more than 1,000 youth out of trouble with the law. This level has been maintained since the programs were launched.
Find the complete article by Ward here.