"Can I See some ID, please?" An explorative research of police decision-making and attitudes on stopping and searching youngsters.

Project Details


This research focuses on police stop and search practices and youngsters. Stop and search is a diverse police practice, because the fact that police officers have large discretionary powers in the process of decision-making during stop and search. Research shows that several target characteristics play a significant role in the decision making practice of stop and search, more in particular age and ethnicity. Youth criminological research shows that (some) youngsters have a very negative perception of and experience with the police. This body of research indicates that stop & search practices are emblematic and at the centre of the “problematic” relationship between youngsters and police forces. However, empirical and qualitative research tackling this specific youth policing practice remains very scarce. And that is what this proposal precisely wants to address. The central research question is: How do police-officers justify their decision-making of stop and search practices of youngsters and what influence the use of discretion in this decision-making? Therefore, this research focuses on the practices of police officers. Methodologically this research is mainly based on an ethnographic study, through observations and interviews, of daily police work. This research is important because the issue remains a blind spot in Belgian police studies. But above all it will shed light on a by youngsters as controversial, discriminating and unfair police practice.
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/20


  • police
  • youth

Flemish discipline codes 2018-2023

  • Criminology not elsewhere classified


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