Offending rates are falling

MORE than 300 fewer young people in Wigan have criminal records than they did five years ago, according to a new report.

Since 2005/06 there has been a year on year decline in the amount of youngsters entering the Criminal Justice System (CJS) which the authorities say is down to multi-agency work done in the borough at addressing youth offending.

The report into re-offending rates in Wigan was presented to Wigan Council’s Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Committee and revealed that there had been a 30 per cent decrease of youngsters obtaining a criminal record in the borough in 2010/11 than in 2009/10.

Wigan Council officer Sharon Bond told the committee that the reduction is down to the role the Youth Offending Team (YOT).

Ms Bond said: “The YOT was established in 2000 and since then we have seen a steady decrease in the amount of young people entering the CJS and this is down to all the work done by our partner agencies.

“The police, probation service, social services, health professionals and the education service all work together to ensure young people are given a stable environment.

“The reduction in youths getting into trouble and providing them with a stable environment allows the YOT to work with the people who need the most help.”

The report states that because of the drop in youth crime, the wider community benefits long term.

However, while councillors agreed the latest news is good for the borough some are concerned what the future holds.

Coun Joel Haddley said: “There has been a lot of national unrest recently and it is credit to the work done by the police and their partners in the borough that we did not see any of it in Wigan.

“However, the substantial cuts being forced on the police by the Government means that by 2015 they will have to make 20 per cent savings and I am concerned as to how they will keep up their excellent work on issues such as youth offending with less manpower and resources.”