London’s former young offenders could help future young offenders

02 July 2015

The total number of young offenders in London—those aged 10 to 17—is falling, but the proportion who go on to offend again is not. Those young offenders who are in the youth justice system have a lot more complex needs and are more entrenched in their offending.

‘Breaking the cycle: Reducing youth reoffending in London’, a report by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, examines youth reoffending trends in the capital and makes recommendations to help support young offenders to stop committing further offences.

The report looks at the challenges that local authorities, the police and other agencies are faced with in London today – namely, working with a hard-to-reach group of young people who need intensive supervision, whilst dealing with resources being cut.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) that contribute to the upcoming revised youth reoffending strategy:

The strategy should be developed in conjunction with former young offenders, to ensure that young people have a direct input into its objectives and priorities. It should include a commitment to involving former young offenders in support projects where it is clear that their contribution would add value.

The strategy should include a commitment to deliver an awareness raising campaign for young people and for parents, teachers and others working with young people.

The strategy should recognise the importance of continuity in the relationship between a young offender and support worker, and work to ensure the system can create opportunities for a one-to-one relationship.

 

Joanne McCartney AM, Chair of the Police and Crime Committee said:

“The Committee has heard from those working with young offenders and from former young offenders themselves. Whilst we recognise that there has been some success in reducing the total number of young people who end up in the youth justice system, it is largely first time offenders with whom this success has been achieved and not those who are entrenched in criminality.

Through our investigation we know that there are a proportion of young offenders throughout London, many of whom have had to deal with traumatic experiences during their lives, who are struggling to escape a cycle of criminal behaviour. Ensuring that these young people receive the right support is critical if they are to contribute positively again to their community.

Our report takes stock of what’s changing about youth reoffending in London, and our recommendations aim to help MOPAC and other partners deliver a strategy that’s shaped around the needs of young people.”

 

Notes for Editors:

Read the report: ‘Breaking the cycle: Reducing youth reoffending in London’ (below).

Joanne McCartney AM, Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

 

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.