CHARLES GRAHAM: Insincere apologies mask crime rise


At first sight it looked a positive story.

The number of young Wigan people entering the justice system for the first time has plummeted by a whopping 90 per cent in the last decade, our Monday article revealed. How could that not be a good thing? one asked aloud.

But read on and you find that the reason for this huge fall in the number of youngsters making a criminal debut in court is because, no matter what felonies they commit (barring the most serious), first time offenders are offered a restorative justice chance of making an apology to their victims as an alternative.

Needless to say most, whether contrite or not, have fallen over themselves to avoid a date in court and a swift resolution.

Now no-one could complain about this new system if it had steered them away from a life of crime. But while far fewer tykes are being hauled before the youth courts, the number of youth crimes has gone up during this period. In other words it’s just a cost-cutting exercise which isn’t working.