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LOCALS TO LEAD THE WAY IN TACKLING YOUTH CRIME - PILOTS ANNOUNCED

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New measures to prevent youth offending are to be piloted in selected ...
New measures to prevent youth offending are to be piloted in selected

local areas, home office minister Alun Michael has announced.

These nine areas have been chosen to lead the way in tackling youth

crime.

The pilots will help develop good practice in delivering the new

measures.

The Crime and Disorder Bill measures to be piloted are:

- the final warning scheme - repeat cautioning is to be abolished

and replaced with a statutory police reprimand and final warning

scheme. Once a young offender has received a final warning a further

offence would result in criminal charges;

- parenting orders - to help and support parents to control the

behaviour of their children. It will require parents to attend

counselling and guidance sessions and could require them to make sure

their children go to school each day;

- child safety orders - to protect children under ten who are at

risk of becoming involved in crime. It could require a child to be

at home at certain times or to stay away from certain people or

places;

- reparation orders - to make young offenders face up to their

crimes and the consequences of their actions. It could involve

writing a letter of apology, apologising in person, cleaning graffiti

or repairing criminal damage;

- action plan orders - a short intensive programme of community-based

intervention combining punishment, rehabilitation and reparation. It

will last three months and is designed to address the specific causes

of offending;

- youth offending teams - involving social workers, police and

probation officers, and education and health staff. They will deliver

community-based intervention programmes to make youngsters face up to

their crimes and change their attitudes.

All of these measures are to be piloted by the London boroughs of

Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and City of Westminster

(joint); Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth

(joint); Wolverhampton; and Sheffield.

The child safety and parenting orders and youth offending teams are

to be piloted by: the London Borough of Lewisham; Luton and

Bedfordshire (joint); St Helens; Sunderland; and Devon.

Mr Michael said:

'Dealing with young offenders and preventing youth crime is a

fundamental part of the Crime and Disorder Bill.

'The present system allows young offenders to wreck their own lives

as well as disrupting families and communities. Young offenders have

escaped facing up to their crimes for far too long.

'Our new approach sets out a root and branch reform of the youth

justice system. All those working within the criminal justice system

will have a common principal aim - to prevent offending.

'These new measures support this aim and will ensure that young

criminals face up to the consequences of their actions.

'The pilots will build on existing work at local level and will

prepare the ground for national implementation of the new measures.'

Pilots to reduce delay in the criminal justice system for adults and

juveniles were also announced by Mr Michael. The findings will

be used to set statutory time limits for both youth and adult cases.

The measures include:

- enabling straightforward guilty plea cases to be dealt with

promptly;

- promoting better case management by extending the powers

exercisable by a single magistrate and providing for some of them to

be exercised by a justices' clerk;

- immediately sending the most serious (indictable only) cases to

the crown court

The provisions will be piloted in six areas. These are: Blackburn and

Burnley; Croydon; Northamptonshire; North Staffordshire; North Wales;

and Tyneside.

Blackburn and Northamptonshire will also pilot the final warning

scheme and youth offending teams; since these arrangements will have

an effect on speed through the system and procedures in youth cases.

The time limits will be themselves be piloted in the same areas from

autumn 1999.

NOTES

1. The youth justice pilots will commence in October 1998 and will

run for 18 months.

2. The Crime and Disorder Bill is currently at Committee Stage in

the House of Commons.

3. The procedural reforms which are also to be piloted derive from

those recommendations of the Review of the Delay in the Criminal

Justice System (the Narey report, published February 1997) which were

accepted by the government.

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