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Juvenile Delinquency

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give figures to show whether juvenile delinquency in Scotland is increasing or decreasing.

I am glad to say that the statistics of juvenile delinquency for 1946 show a drop of approximately 15 per cent. compared with 1945 in the number of children and young persons in Scotland against whom charges were proved. The total number in 1945 was 20,244 and in 1946, 17,050.

Is my right hon. Friend quite satisfied with that figure, which still shows over 17,000 juvenile delinquents?

No, I am not satisfied, and consequently I am taking whatever action is available to me with a view to reducing juvenile delinquency still further.

That is nevertheless a substantial fall. Has the right hon. Gentleman inquired into the reasons for it so as to encourage it further in the same direction?

I have not had time to make the complete inquiries which I think are desirable with a view to finding exactly what are the reasons for the drop that has taken place.

How do these figures compare with prewar? Are they up much or are they down? What about 1938?

I would require notice of that question so that I could make a fair comparison.

Would the Secretary of State say what recommendations resulting from the conference on this subject organised by his predecessor in Edinburgh, at which he. was present, have been pressed by his Department upon the local authorities?

All the recommendations which would be of real service, in dealing with this problem of delinquency, are being pressed to the utmost with a view to reducing still further the numbers to which I have referred.