Number of first-time offenders is falling

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WIGAN is leading the way in reducing youth crime.

The number of youths offending for the first time has reduced continually over the last four years, beating the national and regional averages.

In 2008/09 there was an eight per cent reduction, from 444 young offenders in 2007/08, to 408, whilst the regional average was 6.4 per cent.

There was a massive increase in reductions of crime to 39 per cent, with 248 crimes, leaping ahead of the regional average, which was just 5.6 per cent, and the national figure was 5.5 per cent in 2009/10.

In 2010/11, there was a 29.8 per cent reduction in youth crimes, with 175 young offenders. The national average was 25.3 per cent, whilst the regional figure was almost 26 per cent.

And the most recent figures, of 2011/12 shows at massive 48 per cent reduction, with just 91 crimes.

The success can be attributed to the work of the Youth Offending Team (YOT), which was highlighted at a national level as best practice and lead to the development of the Restorative Justice Disposal (RJD).

In 2009/10 Wigan Youth Offending Team took a more proactive role in linking with schools to introduce RJDs, where a young offender accepts responsibility for their crime and takes part in a restorative process.

Wigan is one of the only YOTs in the country to visit young people on a RJD at home for assessment.

Graham Doubleday, team leader of restorative solutions at Wigan Council, said: “This is a testament to a very successful early intervention and prevention service being delivered through multi-agency working partnerships. We are working with the police and schools at the earliest opportunity and we hope to continue that success.”

The work of Wigan Probation Local Delivery Unit (LDU) has also proved successful over the last few years in terms of adult offenders.

Recent figures, dating to November last year, show that the LDU is currently assessing 1,412 community orders, with 10 per cent being female offenders. Of these, 848 were given community orders or prison licences; 377 ofenders are currently in custody having been sentenced to more than 12 months in prison and 187 are subject to community payback orders.

Wigan’s LDU has beaten the national average of adult offenders completing orders and licences, with 83.8 per cent, compared with 70 per cent nationally.