Youth crime rates remain below national average as services help young people to turn their lives around
Nottinghamshire County Council has welcomed the progress being made to support young people at risk of criminal behaviour and preventing them from reoffending.
Figures in this year’s Youth Justice Strategy 2022/23 review, show the county continues to perform better than the national average, with the number of first-time offenders remaining stable at 149 first time offenders per 100,000 10-to-17-year-olds compared to 208 per 100,000 nationally.
In the meantime, the rates of children and young people reoffending has fallen and remain well below national statistics and the number of young people spending time in custody has also reduced, showing that positive progress continues.
The number of re-offences per re-offender rate increased to 4.5 in 2021/22 compared with a national average of 3.95, largely attributed to a small group of young people with very complex needs. These young people continue to be supported to ensure the best possible outcomes.
The aims of the youth justice work focus on reducing the number of young people offending, reducing the frequency and rate of reoffending, and keeping young people experiencing custody to a minimum.
Commenting on the strategy, its aims and achievements, Councillor Tracey Taylor, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said
“It is encouraging that Nottinghamshire continues to perform better than the national average in each of the three priority areas.
“It’s important to remember that these are not numbers, these are people, and we are making a real difference to their lives. Many of these young people have experienced significant neglect, trauma or exploitation and often have multiple and complex needs. Helping to get them on the appropriate education and employment path for them is one of the most important ways a young person can turn away from offending and be safe from criminal exploitation. I am proud that Nottinghamshire prioritises those opportunities and that we have young people who have been able to do just that - it is truly heart-warming.
“The good outcomes for Nottinghamshire are testament to the dedication and hard work of the teams who keep children and young people at the heart of their work and the overall partnership approach in place.
“There will always be areas for improvement and more to achieve but the report shows that our youth justice services are doing well and achieving good things for young people, steering them away from crime - which is better for them, their families and Nottinghamshire communities overall.”
One young person, James, who served two custodial sentences for violent offences as a teenager has made significant life changes since his involvement with the service. Seeing that a more positive future was possible, he was supported to get back into education. He has since become a peer mentor and police adviser for stop and search. More recently he successfully completed three years of college and is now studying for a degree in Biomedical Science.
Another young person, Anthony, who was arrested aged 16 for affray and involved rival families and weapons, says he has “turned his life around” since working with youth justice. He added, “the youth justice service represents: positive input, genuine care, emotional support, crime deterrent, time invested. The service made a difference to my life as they gave me an escape from the chaos I was going through. They were a piece of normality in my abnormal lifestyle and allowed me to communicate well and understand the help the service was providing.”
The council’s youth justice service works closely with the police, courts, education, social care, health and other agencies as well as with victims of crime and communities to reduce youth offending across Nottinghamshire and to achieving the best outcomes for children and young people affected.
The report was approved by the county council at its Full Council meeting on Thursday, 24 November.