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YOUTH OFFENDING FALLS IN GATESHEAD

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The number of young people offending and the number of offences by young...
The number of young people offending and the number of offences by young

people in Gateshead have seen a significant reduction in the last three

years following the success of the work of the local youth offending team

with its partners.

Figures released today by the Gateshead youth offending team show that the

number offences committed by young people in Gateshead has reduced by over

22 per cent since 2002 to 2003 and the number of young people offending has

dropped by 34 per cent. The most recent figures on re-offending show that 8

per cent fewer young people have re-offended compared with previous years,

exceeding the national target of 5 per cent.

Youth offending team manager in Gateshead, Brian Langley, said: 'It is

encouraging to see that our work with partners is having an impact. In the

last year more young offenders were helped with substance misuse problems,

more young people were being supported on final warnings and more young

people than ever before are being required to make amends for their

behaviour. We're also helping to reduce the fear of crime by consulting

with victims and enabling them to have their views represented to youth

offender panels dealing with young people or meeting the young offender in

person.'

The youth offending team in Gateshead includes employees seconded from

police, probation, education, health and the Connexions service to tackle

offending by children and young people aged between 10 and 17. The team

also brings together a number of workers that are specialist in substance

misuse, parenting and victim support. A significant amount of the team's

work is also focused on prevention.

Together, they work with young people in Gateshead to prevent offending,

intervene early where young people have become involved in crime when their

problems may be more manageable and help to deliver and support young

offenders to make amends for their behaviour through a range of community

based reparation projects. Where victims want it, meetings between the

young offender and their victim are arranged so that the young person can

hear directly about the harm they have caused and apologise in person.

The team is responsible for preparing reports for the courts, supervising

offenders on community sentences and working with young people in custody,

as well as being involved in restorative justice work - administering and

supporting final warnings and co-ordinating referral orders for young

offenders appearing in court for the first time. The team also works to

prevent and tackle anti social behaviour with children and young people aged

8 to 17 who have been referred by the police, schools and other local

agencies.

Catherine Donovan, responsible for children and young people at

Gateshead MBC, said:

'Community safety is a priority for Gateshead

Council and its partners. Over the past year we have seen overall crime in

the borough fall by over 14% and the work of the Youth Offending Team has

been enormously important in tackling and preventing offending by children

and young people.

'Children and young people in Gateshead make a tremendous contribution to

the life of our community and it is important that the small number who do

get into trouble are dealt with quickly and effectively and helped to avoid

further offences that may jeopardise their freedom and their futures.'

Gateshead area commander chief superintendent, Allan Curry said:

'Northumbria Police continues to focus its efforts on reducing crime and

ensuring offenders are brought before the courts. In conjunction with other

agencies, this focus has seen real reductions in crime in Gateshead not only

with the reduction in young offending but actual reduction in offences.

These are achievements which genuinely benefit the communities of

Gateshead.'

Notes

Youth offending teams were established by the Crime and

Disorder Act 1998 and are a statutory partnership led by the local

authority. The work of the team is overseen by a youth offending team

steering group currently chaired on behalf of the chief executive by the

group director community based services. The Gateshead youth offending team

also reports on performance to the community safety partnership and the

Children's Trust senior officer and commissioning group.

Numbers of young offenders and offences committed by young people from

Gateshead are collected by the youth offending team based on information

provided by Northumbria Police and others.

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