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Hundreds of youngsters turned away from crime

An independent inspection of Staffordshire’s Youth Offending Service has confirmed it remains one of the top performing teams in the country.

The report awarded the service 22 stars out of a possible 24 amid recognition of its work with first time offenders, safeguarding the public as well as victims and ensuring court sentences are carried out.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

We’re not resting on our laurels, but we are delighted with the inspection result.

We’re particularly proud of our work with children who have been diverted from the Criminal Justice system – we know for example that 90 per cent of those referred to us in 2013/14 have not reoffended.”

The Youth Offending Service deals with youngsters aged 10 to 18 and is a partnership of Staffordshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, probation, health and education bodies and is run and delivered by Staffordshire County Council.

Mark Sutton said:

We have a dual responsibility to protect the public and protect the children themselves, who may be very vulnerable.

As well as being praised for making sure youths carry out community punishments imposed by the courts, we do a great deal of work finding out why children have acted as they have to get in trouble and trying to deal with the reasons, be it domestic violence, substance abuse, or difficult family circumstances.”

The report, by HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said Staffordshire was chosen because it was expected to be an example of good practice.

HM Chief Inspector Glenys Stacey said: “I was delighted at such a solid performance once again from Staffordshire Youth Offending Service. Staff there were really dedicated.”

Mark Sutton said:

There’s been a long commitment to working together in Staffordshire, which is paying dividends with the sharing of information, identifying those at risk and proactive work in the community.”

He added:

Having succeeded in steering so many 10 to 18-years away from trouble, the challenge now is to get to grips with the often older teenagers who keep reoffending.

We are putting plans in place and I hope we can continue to make a difference to people’s lives.”

 

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Notes to editors

The number of juveniles going into the legal system reduced from 351 in 2011/12 to 163 in 2015/16 (-54%)

The number of juveniles receiving custodial sentences reduced from 31 in 2011/12 to 15 in calendar year of 2015 (-52%)

The inspection lasted two weeks earlier this year. Periodically, high performing services are inspected to establish a benchmark of good practice.

The inspection considers how effective the service is at reducing reoffending, protecting the public, protecting children and young people, ensuring that sentences are served, governance and partnerships, and interventions.

More information can be found at https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/inspections/staffordshire_fji/