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STATEMENT FROM HOME SECRETARY WELCOMING AUDIT COMMISSION REPORT-MISSPENT YOUTH 98

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'Tackling offending by young people is one of the government's top ...
'Tackling offending by young people is one of the government's top

priorities and remains one of the toughest challenges we face.

'Our slow and uncoordinated youth justice system means that not

enough is done to address offending behvaiour, leaving many young

offenders still facing justice far too late for it to have any

effect.

'The findings from Misspent Youth '98 confirm that this has been a

long standing problem. They reinforce the need for a fundamental

reform of the youth justice system to ensure that young people are

diverted from crime before it is too late.

'We have already made some welcome progress to get the system working

more quickly, but much more work needs to be done if we are to see a

faster, fairer and more efficient youth justice system established

for the 21st century.

'The Crime and Disorder Bill will be central to our reforms. It will

help us to tackle offending behaviour at an earlier stage, take

tougher action more quickly and make young criminals face up to the

damage they have caused.

'Findings from Misspent Youth '98 confirm the Audit Commission's

previous study in '96. Their work continues to provide a beneficial

and constructive contribution to our reforms in this area.'

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