Youth pilot cuts crime
A pilot project to tackle youth offending is reported to have led to a major reduction in crimes committed by young people.
The system, which is being extended to local authorities across Scotland, aims to hold young people to account for their behaviour and stop them following the wrong path into a life of crime.
Police, courts, education and social services work together to address minor offending behaviour before it becomes a major problem.
The final report into the pilot of Whole System Approach in Aberdeen shows a marked improvement in youth offending, including the following:
* Youth crime down 20 percent between 2008-09 and last year
* Number of youths committing crime down 23 percent since 2006-07
* Court Proceedings against 16 and 17 year-olds fell by 37 percent
* 48 percent reduction in offence referrals to Children’s Reporter over the last two years
* Children’s Hearing System working faster – taking an average of 28 days to reach a disposal decision rather than 72 – 148 days in 2009-10
“Cutting youth crime is a key priority for this Government and we want to nip bad behaviour in the bud now before it becomes a major problem later. Early intervention is the most effective way to do this,” said the Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill. “The Whole System Approach tackles all aspects of youth offending - from low level crime to the most serious and harmful offences. It diverts young people from criminal behaviour by offering opportunities not obstacles, making our systems leaner and more efficient and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy.”
The Whole System Approach may also now be rolled out and used to help reverse the rise in female offending.
"Whole systems is exactly the direction of travel we want to take on female offenders, with police, courts, education and social services working together to address all aspects of problem behaviour,” explained Mr MacAskill. “This has worked with youngsters, we can make it work with women.”