Youth offending figures slashed

YOUTH offending has been slashed by more than 20 per cent in Hartlepool in a year, according to new figures.

The latest figures show that in 2010-11, Hartlepool Youth Offending Service (YOS) dealt with 36 young offenders (193 male and 43 female) who committed 492 offences.

That represents a 21.5 per cent reduction in offenders, compared to the year before, and 22.1 per cent reduction in offences.

The figures also show a year-on-year improvement with the number of offences committed being slashed by almost 50 per cent compared to the 2006-07 figure of 952 offences.

The main aims of youth justice services are to prevent offending and re-offending by children and young people and to reduce the use of custody.

Around 25 per cent of the Hartlepool population are under 18, with 9,905 aged between 10 to 17.

The multi-agency Hartlepool YOS was established in April 2000 after the introduction of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It is made up of council representatives, the police, probation, health, education and the voluntary and community sector in town.

Each year the Hartlepool YOS produces a strategic plan, and the 2012-13 plan was agreed by councillors at a refull council meeting.

In the plan foreword of the plan, Nicola Bailey, the council’s acting chief executive, said: “The youth offending service is continuing to demonstrate its direct contribution to both improving outcomes for young people and making local communities safer and stronger.

“It is essential we continue to push forward with improvements to the service in 2012 - 2013.

“This plan defines priorities for the youth offending service in the coming year and highlights areas for improvement.”

Targets for this year include reducing further offending by young people who have committed crime, ensuring there are “effective arrangements” in place to manage the risk of those most at risk of offending and to sustain the “excellent” partnerships in place.

A Hartlepool Borough Council report said the service is providing a support service to young offenders in a “non-stigmatising” setting, recruiting and training volunteer panel members to secure “effective” referral order panels and increasing the number of reparation projects done by young people, with increased weekend and evening work, all of which have helped reduce the number of offenders.

Figures also show the service is dealing with a number of offenders who repeatedly offend, some on a weekly basis for minor criminal damage.

The Hartlepool Youth Offending Service is overseen and monitored by the national Youth Justice Board.

Figures for 2011-12 will be updated once they have been verified by the board.

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