A pilot project to tackle the problem of youth offending in Aberdeen has successfully helped to reduce the number of crimes committed by young people.
The system, which is being extended to local authorities across Scotland, aims to hold young people to account for their behaviour and stop them following the wrong path into a life of crime.
The final report into the pilot of Whole System Approach in Aberdeen revealed a 20% reduction in youth crime between 2008-09 and last year. It also showed that:
- the number of youths committing crime fell by 23% since 2006-07,
- Court Proceedings against 16 and 17 year-olds fell by 37%,
- there was a 48% reduction in offence referrals to Children’s Reporter over the last two years, and
- the Children’s Hearing System worked faster – taking an average of 28 days to reach a disposal decision rather than 72 – 148 days in 2009-10.
The Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, said the approach may now be rolled out and used to also help reverse the rise in female offending. He commented:
“The Whole System Approach tackles all aspects of youth offending - from low level crime to the most serious and harmful offences. It diverts young people from criminal behaviour by offering opportunities not obstacles, making our systems leaner and more efficient and cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy.
"Whole systems is exactly the direction of travel we want to take on female offenders, with police, courts, education and social services working together to address all aspects of problem behaviour. This has worked with youngsters, we can make it work with women.”