Concern over young offenders after it’s revealed one Hartlepool boy re-offended 26 times in one year

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A Hartlepool youngster criminally re-offended a total of 26 times last year, shock new figures have revealed.

Statistics produced as part of the town’s Youth Justice Strategic Plan show that almost 40 girls and more than 140 boys re-offended at least once in 2014/15.

Breaking this cycle at the earliest possible stage is vital to ensure the young person doesn’t have a life of being in and out of prison in adult life.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright

Two girls re-offended 13 times while one boy was found to have taken part in 26 criminal offences, although council chiefs say a number of offences could be linked to one incident.

The number of offences committed by youngsters aged 17 and under in Hartlepool has fallen significantly, from 825 in 2013/14 to 625 from April 2014 to March this year, although the number of re-offences has increased.

Criminal damage, racially aggravated and violent crimes by young people all dropped.

Town MP Iain Wright said today it is important to “break the cycle” of those youths who continue to re-offend.

Detailing the lives of those who have re-offended, the report states: “This cohort of persistent young offenders are predominantly young men who are aged between 15 and 17 and reside within Hartlepool’s most deprived neighbourhoods. These young people are often the most socially excluded and often have complex and deep-rooted health and social problems such as higher than average mental health needs, higher levels of drug and alcohol abuse, low educational attachment, attendance and attainment, having family members or friends who offend, higher than average levels of loss, bereavement, abuse and violence experienced within the family and a history of family disruption.”

The report added: “In spite of the adversities that families and communities contend with in Hartlepool, the local Youth Justice Partnership has had significant success in recent years in terms of prevent and reducing youth offending behaviour.

“However, an emphasis on prevention and diversion needs to be maintained and in spite of recent reductions in re-offending, the rate of re-offending in Hartlepool continues to be an area of concern.

“Whilst crime rates in Hartlepool have fallen, the likelihood of being a victim of crime still remains a reality, especially in our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

“The Youth Offending Service and broader Youth Justice Partnership are working hard to reduce the numbers of victims of crime, including the successful use of restorative justice to achieve this objective.”

Speaking about the issue, Mr Wright said: “It is important that the revolving door of re-offending is stopped. Breaking this cycle at the earliest possible stage is vital to ensure the young person doesn’t have a life of being in and out of prison in adult life.”

Sally Robinson, the council’s director of child & adult services, said the Hartlepool Youth Offending Service has made considerable progress in terms of preventing and reducing youth offending.

She said: “The rate of re-offending by some young people who have previously re-offended does still remain high, although it is important to note that in some cases of multiple re-offending, some of the re-offences are connected to a single incident.

“The service partners remain absolutely determined to continue to reduce re-offending and the Youth Justice Strategic Plan for 2015-16 contains a range of actions aimed at achieving that.”