The number of young people committing first time offences in County Durham has fallen by more than 80 per cent, a new report reveals.
County Durham Youth Offending Service’s (CDYOS) Youth Justice Plan for 2015/17 states that in 2014/15, 193 young people entered the Youth Justice System for the first time.
The figure represents an 8.1 per cent reduction since the previous year and an overall decrease of 82.9 per cent in the past seven years.
The plan, which will be presented to Durham County Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, 15 July, also shows that only 20 custodial sentences were handed out to young people in 2014/15 – a reduction of 20 per cent compared to 2013/14.
In addition, last year also saw a 44.8 per cent reduction in the number of nights young people spent in remand centres last year.
In 2014/15, there were 354 remand bed nights recorded, compared to 641 in 2013/14.
CDYOS’ other success in 2014/15 included ensuring that every young person leaving custody had appropriate accommodation waiting for them and the development of a range of resources to address young people’s communication needs.
Cllr Ossie Johnson, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for children and adult services, said: “It is essential that we work with young people at the first stages of their involvement with the youth justice system if we are to successfully deter them from any further anti-social or criminal behaviour.
“County Durham Youth Offending Service’s achievements over the past year show how effective we have been at doing this with the support and cooperation of the police and other agencies.
“Our Youth Justice Plan for 2015/17 sets out how we will build on this work over the coming months and years.”