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Young Offenders: Greater London

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persistent young offenders were (a) arrested and (b) sentenced for a criminal offence at (i) magistrates’ courts and (ii) the Crown Court in (A) the London Borough of Bexley and (B) London in each year since 1997. (259511)

Statistics on persistent young offenders (PYOs) are only available for those offenders that are arrested and then found guilty. These statistics, split by court type as requested in the question, are only available from 1999 onwards. The figures for Bexley are only available from 2002.

The PYO figures are designed to measure the speed and efficiency of the youth justice system; through monitoring the pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for dealing with PYOs in England and Wales from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days. They are not designed to measure overall trends in youth crime, and will give a misleading picture of the true trend if used for this purpose.

The table following on this response shows the number of PYOs dealt with in England and Wales, London and for the London borough of Bexley. The counts of this type of offender are split by court jurisdictions for England and Wales and the London area. The figures for Bexley are very small and therefore subject to year-on-year volatility.

On 10 December 2008, the Secretary of State for Justice announced in a written ministerial statement that the PYO pledge would be dropped with effect from the end of 2008. This is therefore the last year for which PYO statistics will be published and compiled.

Number of persistent young offenders in England and Wales, London (Metropolitan police force area) the London borough of Bexley, by court jurisdiction

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

England and Wales

Magistrates courts

8,189

9,297

9,815

11,961

12,889

13,218

13,297

13,511

13,894

14,476

15,414

The Crown court

1,423

1,514

2,160

1,264

961

1,024

941

974

924

1,043

1,095

Total

9,868

11,079

12,014

13,233

13,854

14,244

14,244

14,492

14,827

15,528

16,512

London (Metropolitan police force area)

Magistrates courts

541

622

856

948

1,176

1,200

1,129

1,199

1,208

1,325

1,593

The Crown court

182

192

228

148

121

124

121

125

121

161

175

Total

864

1,003

1,091

1,100

1,297

1,325

1,251

1,324

1,329

1,486

1,768

London borough of Bexley

Magistrates courts

The Crown court

Total

44

36

28

38

26

52

Notes:

1. The Police National Computer data can contain records where the type of court in which the case was heard was unknown. This missing information only impacts a very small minority of cases, and was more a feature of the data in the past than in the present. Thus, the sum of cases heard in magistrates courts and the Crown court in each year is less than all cases heard in England and Wales.

2. The counts of persistent young offenders for the London borough of Bexley are very small subsets of the overall London and England and Wales populations, and as such are subject to year-to-year volatility.

3. The counts for 2008 are based on provisional (incomplete) data and are therefore subject to being revised. Any revision should not result in a substantial increase in these counts.