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City praised for youth crime reduction work

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 04, 2013

By Karis Dowsell

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SWANSEA has been hailed as an example of how to tackle youth crime after a decade of success.

The figures were delivered in a report by the Youth Offending Service to Swansea Council's Cabinet, showing youth crime has fallen dramatically over the last decade.

In total, there were over 2,000 incidents reported involving 10-17 year olds in 2001-02, while less than 500 were reported in the year 2011-12.

There were some areas of youth crime in which Swansea Youth Offending Service has made particular progress. Notably, theft of cars by has fallen from 174 in 2001-02, to 23 a decade later.

The number of persistent offenders in the same period fell from 204 to 23, while youths serving custodial sentences during this time also fell from 62 to 13. These achievements in reducing youth crime in Swansea have been attributed to the work of the Youth Offending Service on prevention and intervention strategies.

Mitch Theaker, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Opportunities for Children and Young People, said: "The plan will build on the excellent work of the Swansea Youth Offending Service in educating young people about the consequences of their behaviour, which enables them to put the right wrong.

"The use of restorative practices and restorative justice maximises the future potential of young people to become successful and integrated members of the community."

Following this report, it has announced its new Youth Justice Plan, drawn up to respond to recent changes in the law.

This plan is to meet a series of objectives rolled-out by the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, and the Welsh Government and is due to last for the next two years.

The changes follow recommendations from the Welsh Assembly to ensure better co-ordination between devolved matters, such as youth welfare, and non-devolved criminal justice and enforcement.

It is expected to reduce the number of first-time offenders, and a further reduction in those on custodial sentences. There are also a series of targets to reduce the levels of re-offending.

The Welsh Assembly underpins its approach to youth justice with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 2004.

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