In recent years we have witnessed many challenges to the core ideologies and functions of the police in England and Wales. One such agenda, which this blog posting analyses, is the emphasis of the police on trying to support children and young people on the fringes of offending. These strategies are referred to in my book as ‘soft policing’ – where the police take on a mandate which involves a more social service or social work emphasis, but at the same time continue many of their existing law and order roles and perspectives. Despite the police’s involvement in various social service activities since before the Metropolitan Police Act 1829, the recent focus of the police to work more collaboratively with various community agencies to help support and divert young people from offending has grown. In practical terms, these collaborative operations have been challenging for the police to engage with. Inter-agency tensions between the police (with their focus on enforcement of the criminal law) and the welfare-orientated of other agencies and services, differences within the police organization regarding what constitutes ‘proper’ police work, cynicism regarding the genuine ability of the police to balance its law enforcement mandate with a welfarist one, along with a host of other factors, have all been put forward to explain the implementation gap associated with these ‘soft’ policing practices.