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NEW POWERS TO TACKLE YOUTH CRIME AVAILABLE

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New powers to tackle youth offending and to prevent young offenders ...
New powers to tackle youth offending and to prevent young offenders

spiralling into a cycle of crime are available.

Child curfew schemes for children under ten will be available

throughout England and Wales. The scheme will allow local

authorities to deal with unsupervised children who are on the streets

late at night.

The new measures to tackle youth crime will be piloted in nine

areas of the country.

Home secretary Jack Straw said:

'In the past, young offenders have been left to wreck their own lives

and cause havoc in communities. These new measures will radically

overhaul the system that allows this to happen.

'We have introduced a new approach to dealing with youth crime. One

that will make sure that young offenders face up to what they have

done wrong.

'These measures will be piloted throughout the country to build on

existing local work and prepare the way for national implementation.

'In future all those working within the youth justice system will

have a common principal aim - to prevent offending by children and

young people.'

The measures which will be piloted are:

- final warning scheme - repeat cautioning will be abolished and

replaced with a statutory final warning scheme;

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

behaviour of their children. It will require parents to attend

counselling and guidance sessions;

- 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;

- 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.

Some of these measures will 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.

The rebuttable presumption that a child is doli incapax (incapable of

telling the difference between naughtiness and serious wrong) has

also been abolished. This means that all children and

young people aged between 10 and 17 will be treated similarly.

. The youth justice measures have been introduced by the Crime and

Disorder Act 1998.

. The youth justice pilots will run for 18 months.

. Local child curfews will be established by local authorities in

consultation with the police and local communities. The proposed

scheme would then by submitted to the home office for confirmation.

YOUTH JUSTICE BOARD ESTABLISHED

The Youth Justice Board, which has been established, will

focus on preventing offending by children and young people.

main body of its work will focus on early intervention with young

offenders, speeding up youth justice and better programmes for

stopping offending.

The board will concentrate on helping to put in place the

new infrastructure for youth justice by April 2000. This includes

setting up:

- local youth offending teams

- final warning schemes

- the new reparation and action plan orders and the

- programmes to underpin them

Chairman of the board, Norman Warner said:

'In pursuing reform of the youth justice system, the board will use

external expertise, development funding and the experience of the

pilot schemes which are starting today.

'Board members will be out and about in local areas listening,

learning and encouraging change. We will adopt a consultative

approach in formulating advice to government.

'We want to see change, innovative ideas, local partnership and

measurement of outcomes. Developing an effective communications

strategy will be high on our agenda.'

The early work of the board is likely to cover:

- stimulating more and better intervention programmes in areas like

parenting, reparation and mentoring

- developing a national training and development programme for youth

offending team managers

- encouraging more bail supervision and support schemes to underpin

the new Statutory duty on local authorities

- speeding up youth justice, especially reducing the time from arrest

to sentence for persistent young offenders

- identifying information needs and promoting better information

systems at local level

- advising the government on the regimes, standards and placement

arrangements needed in secure juvenile facilities to implement the

new Detention and Training Order, together with a new contracting

system for places for remanded and sentenced offenders

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