Council support leads to reduction in youth crime
At its meeting on Wednesday 9 October, the county council’s cabinet will be asked to approve Gloucestershire’s Youth Justice Plan for 2019/20, which shows the number of children entering the criminal justice system has reduced.
The Youth Justice Plan, which has been developed by the council together with its partners, looks at the Youth Offending Service and the steps being taken to reduce the number of children committing criminal offences.
The plan shows that Gloucestershire’s Youth Offending Service, which is delivered by Prospects on behalf of the county council, is performing well compared to the wider South West and nationally..
A review of 2018/19 found it has:
- Significantly reduced the number of children aged between 10 and 17 who have received their first conviction, caution or youth caution. Gloucestershire is rated second out of 152 local authorities nationally
In 2018, 40 children entered the criminal justice system, compared to 135 and 161 in the two years prior. This is largely due to the introduction of ‘Children First’ which focuses on identifying early opportunities to support children
- Led to an overall reduction in the number of formal interventions. More than 50 per cent of youth justice interventions do not criminalise children and make sure that any identified needs are met early
- Increased the number of restorative interventions such as young people doing community work to make amends, which has in turn increased engagement with victims of youth crime who are offered an opportunity to be involved in the process
- Consistently achieved low custody rates, reducing the number of young people required by the court to spend time in a young offenders institution or secure children’s home
- Reduced the numbers of children re-offending.
As part of the wider Youth Support Team, the Youth Offending Service is able to access the services of experienced youth workers, to ensure support is targeted to the most vulnerable children and those most at risk of offending.
While Gloucestershire is performing well, the report also sets out a number of priorities for 2019/20 such as gathering feedback from young people, parents and carers, victims and partners, to further develop services.
Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children and families at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This report is very encouraging and we can be proud of the work the Youth Offending Service and Children First are doing to reduce the number of children committing a criminal offence. Gloucestershire is clearly ahead of other local authorities which is great news.
“Keeping our children and young people out of the criminal justice system will have positive benefits for them personally and the county as a whole, now and in the years to come. Despite the excellent progress, we aren’t complacent and approval of this plan will allow the Youth Offending Service to build on the work they’ve already done.”