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The government today congratulated the criminal justice agencies on...
The government today congratulated the criminal justice agencies on

their continued efforts towards halving the time it takes to deal

with persistent young offenders.

In 1996, dealing with a persistent young offender took an average of

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

Department, said:

'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.

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