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Crime: Young People

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps the Government have taken to reduce levels of youth crime. (244563)

The Government are committed to driving down youth crime and keeping the communities, including young people themselves, safer.

The vast majority of young people are well behaved and it is a minority we need to focus on, who are responsible for half of all youth crime.

As well as the Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP), the Government have published (15 July) the Youth Crime Action Plan. This is a joint initiative by the Home Office, Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The plan sets out a comprehensive cross-Government plan to tackle youth crime, with a triple track approach of enforcement and punishment where behaviour is unacceptable, non-negotiable support and challenge where it is most needed, and better and earlier prevention. It will deliver an extensive and comprehensive package of measures for children, young people and families that is backed by £100 million of funding to help prevent young people getting involved in crime.

The £100 million is being used for:

extra investment in all areas of England to support families with the most entrenched and complex problems;

an intensive programme of action for priority areas where problem of youth crime is greatest; including taking unsupervised young people off the streets at night and requiring young people to complete community service on Friday and Saturday nights; and

guidance of recommended approaches to reducing youth crime for these areas that they can tailor to their local needs, achieving the right balance between enforcement action to tackle the problems on our streets and prevention measures to ensure future generations do not make the same mistakes.

There is already a great deal of work going on across Government to tackle youth crime and anti social behaviour. Positive Futures programme is a national sports based social inclusion programme which is funded by the Home Office in partnership with the Football Foundation.

The programme aims to have a positive influence on young people's lives through widening their horizons and providing access to new opportunities by using sport, art and leisure activities as a catalyst to encourage project participation and steering young people towards education, training and employment.