their continued efforts towards halving the time it takes to deal
with persistent young offenders.
142 days but figures published today show that by the 3rd quarter
2002, (July - September), this had been cut to 68 days, three days below
the government's target.
Home Office minister Hilary Benn said:
'It is essential that young people who commit crime are brought to
justice swiftly. A criminal justice system that delivers results
quickly and effectively instils confidence in victims, witnesses and
local people and makes it less likely that young offenders will
continue to persistently commit crimes in their communities.
'The figure of 68 days for the third quarter of 2002 means we have
met the target in five consecutive quarters, showing that the
criminal justice agencies have not only achieved, but also maintained
The pledge, to halve the time it takes to get persistent young
offenders into court from the time they were arrested, was announced
in 1997 and scheduled to be delivered by May 2002. It was first
achieved in August 2001.
Mr Benn said:
'I would like to pay tribute to all those who have put in so much
effort and energy into achieving the pledge target consistently in
the last five years. I also want to thank Norman Warner and the Youth
Justice Board, whose outstanding leadership has played a pivotal part
in the target being met well before the May deadline.'
Yvette Cooper, minister for the courts at the Lord Chancellor's
'The courts have played a major role in reducing delay in the youth
justice system. I pay tribute to the hard work that has gone into
meeting the Pledge for the fifth consecutive quarter and ahead of
schedule. These results show what the criminal justice agencies can
achieve through co-operation and commitment.
'By speeding up the system, young offenders are being brought swiftly
to justice, making it less likely they will slip into a life of crime
and making it more likely that victims and their communities will be
The attorney general Lord Goldsmith said:
'The CPS has played a key part in meeting this challenge. The way it
has responded is a excellent example of the common-sense, practical
measures the Service is taking to improve the speed and quality of
its case preparation and presentation, give the police early legal
advice, and join-up with criminal justice partners. I congratulate
all those involved.'
Lord Warner of Brockley, chairman of the Youth Justice Board, said:
'Again, I want to thank youth offending teams, the police, courts and
all agencies who have been involved in the successful achievement of
the target. We need to continue to build on this work and ensure that
all parts of the country are effectively reducing delays.
'There are still some areas that have yet to achieve the target
consistently and it is important that good work continues so that
young people are brought to justice quickly, and victims and local
people have confidence in the system.'
1. A persistent young offender is a person aged 10-17 who has been
convicted of a recordable offence on three or more occasions and
commits another offence within three years.
2. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) was established under the Crime &
Disorder Act 1998 to lead the reforms to the youth justice system.
One of the board's main responsibilities is to co-ordinate all the
work on delivering the government's pledge to speed up youth justice.
3. Copies of the Youth Justice Board's guide 'Speeding Up
Youth Justice' can be found here.