Youth Crime Prevention Plan and Restorative Justice in North East Lincolnshire

Themes this local practice example relates to:

  • Youth
  • General resources

Basic details

Organisation submitting example

Young People’s Support Services (YPSS)
Humberside Police

Local authority/local area:

North East Lincolnshire Council


The context and rationale

This example of local practice describes how North East Lincolnshire has reduced anti-social behaviour and youth-related crime by working jointly with partner agencies in multi-agency teams. Hotspot geographical areas and young people identified as likely to get into trouble, are engaged and offered support services and activities.

Aims:

• to focus on prevention of youth-related crime and disorder, utilising a borough-wide, integrated, partnership approach 
• to collectively target resources and support for young people, offering holistic, wraparound provision in order to make the maximum impact within communities and offer local young people improved life chances.
• to provide multi-agency partnership working and robust programmes of support and positive activities to individuals and groups, when and where they are needed 
• to offer effective resource allocation via needs analysis and intelligence assessments, coupled with robust referral mechanisms into specialist services (CAF, Referral and Support)
• to prevent young people from entering the youth justice system as offenders, witnesses or victims. 

Priority No 1 - Reduce youth related (10 – 17 yrs) Anti-Social Behavior (ASB) and overall youth crime levels.
North East Lincolnshire has high levels of deprivation, with the index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 ranking it 49th out of 354 local authorities in England. The East Marsh area of North East Lincolnshire is in the top 1% of the most deprived areas within the UK and, at one point, one of its streets was the worst in the country for the crime domain. 

2008 data showed a lack of joined-up partnership working in relation to youth crime and disorder, as different agencies were all trying to work in the same areas, showing no cohesion or cost-effective working. There was also no cohesion in information-sharing relating to geographical, demographic or individual intelligence on offending / offenders. Specific hotspots of youth-related crime and disorder were predominantly in areas of multiple deprivation, including parks and open spaces. At least 50% of youth-related crime and disorder was committed in the East and West Marsh areas of the county. 44% of the children and young people in East Marsh and 50% of the children and young people in South Ward lived in poverty.
The local media in 2008 portrayed North East Lincolnshire as an area full of thugs and the Telegraph commenced the “Respect” campaign to identify and shame young offenders. This created a negative image of young people locally, regionally and nationally. 

Local service providers consulted with local young people either through one-to-one or group sessions. This consultation found:

• Young people would not engage in regular mainstream sports clubs due to their disruptive tendencies.
• The more challenging young people had low self-esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. 
• There was a lack of support from parents, either through lack of interest or funds, which meant that future planned activities would have to be subsidized, including transportation where necessary. 
• Mainstream services, leisure centres and schools would not engage with these young people due to their challenging behaviour.
• Many intervention and referral services had previously, and unsuccessfully, tried to engage these groups. 
• Many of these young people were on the verge of being excluded from school. 

Priority No 2 - Reduce the number of young people entering the Criminal Justice System.
The Restorative Justice Team within YPSS enables early identification and assessment of risk of reoffending and need, enabling interventions for the young people and their families to be put in place promptly. It has enhanced partnership working information-sharing between agencies and improved outcomes for young people. 

The importance of tackling youth crime is reflected in the Crime and Disorder Act, which makes diverting young people away from crime a central priority. North East Lincolnshire has a significant number of young offenders and young victims. Evidence illustrates that approaches specifically aimed at dealing with youth crime must also deal with preventing future offending. However, this must be done within a framework that recognises and links together a variety of agencies, programmes and priorities within an overarching youth crime prevention strategy.

In October 2009, the Restorative Team began working in partnership with the Youth Offending Service and the police on a triage programme. This provides:

• a coordinated service that supports young people at risk of entering the criminal justice system 
• young people with the opportunity to engage in a restorative programme, rather than being formally charged 
• all young people with opportunities to achieve personal, social and educational development by being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being
• young people with advice, information and guidance and, where applicable, referrals to internal and external services.

The service:

• promotes and supports inclusion through neighbourhoods, school and home
• encourages participation in peer group social events and activities
• provides 1:1 support
• encourages young people to achieve their aspirations
• supports the positive emotional health and well-being of young people
• supports young people in accessing health services.

The practice

The police, YPSS, Sports Development and a number of VCS organisations developed inter-agency initiatives, which engaged members of the community - children, young people, families and other residents - in North East Lincolnshire. Neighbourhoods of greatest need were identified and prioritized through local consultation and needs analysis. Each partner contributes to an overarching corporate plan of activity. An example of this activity is positive engagement that has been developed with young people within their own communities. This is often mobile or street-based, but does include some centre-based provision. Offering a variety of youth work and leisure-related provision, incorporating dance academies, football academies, street-based youth work, information, advice and guidance, sexual health support, counselling, music and DJ workshops, has been a key contributor in reducing anti-social behaviour and consequently, the fear of anti-social behaviour. 

From the analysis undertaken, the priority age group that needed to be engaged was young males aged 13-17, with supporting activities for females of a similar age also being provided. The project uses a range of methods to do this, including the use of mobile street patrols to target these groups across the borough in areas identified as hotspots. A multi-agency team of youth workers, sports coaches, police and community support officers, support each location and a programme of positive diversionary activities, such as football, street dance, jogging, kayaking, handball and others has been developed. 

Street-based teams directly target local gangs and the most socially excluded young people to encourage them to attend activities. These activities have developed in response to consultation with the community and young people and located in the identified hotspots. The activities are non-affiliated and are free to all. Once the young people have been engaged, a programme of personal development is tailored to their specific needs and interests to help them achieve accredited outcomes, improve their life skills and support them in moving on to improved education, employment or training opportunities. 

Some of the barriers encountered in maintaining young people’s engagement in activities, were the lack of rewards given and the too few challenges offered. With this in mind, the project established the network of weekly sporting academies. As the network of academies grew, the volume of challenging young people engaged increased. It was soon realised that the young people needed goals to aim for in order to keep them interested. To address this, a monthly Fair Play Football League and street dance-off were launched, which brought together young people from each of the local wards within North East Lincolnshire.

The principle was to operate in areas of high crime and disorder in an attempt to fully engage identified young people who might be on Acceptable Behaviour Contracts or have Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, in positive activities to prevent them from disorderly behaviour.

Responsible authorities

The responsible authorities in North East Lincolnshire, as set out in section five of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 are: 
Humberside Police (A Division) 
Humberside Police Authority 
North East Lincolnshire Council 
Humberside Fire and Rescue Authority 
North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus. 

Multi-agency Task Groups meet on a regular basis to achieve the objectives of the strategy and formulate tactical responses to emerging community safety issues. Task Groups are themed around particular types of crime, ASB & Criminal Damage, Retail Theft, Night Time Economy, Hate Crime, to enable the agencies to focus on the particular crime and formulate the appropriate response. This focus will always include up-to-date intelligence and data relating to youth-related offending and local areas of concern. The groups also act on seasonal issues relating to community safety such as: 

• Operation Kincorth = Halloween to Bonfire Night 29 Oct – 6 November.
• Late Night Shopping = 20 November – 24 December.

Evidence and evaluation - making a difference to children, young people and families

Positive Trends

Since 2007, a large number of agencies with a thematic responsibility for young people and their social and personal development, have joined forces in order to work closer together to pool resources, funding and visionary statements. North East Lincolnshire Council’s Safer and Stronger Communities (Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership) and Humberside Police have agreed joint priorities for this financial year 2011/2012 to ensure cohesion when dealing with community issues.

Safer and Stronger Communities Partnership North East Lincolnshire, is the statutory Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership that was established in response to the requirements of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Safer and Stronger Communities is a statutory partnership set up to join up the work of partners across the borough. 

Evaluation data is included in monthly performance reports. As a result of the activity undertaken, youth-related crime and disorder has reduced. Activity includes:

• Street-based youth work mobile teams
• Partnership projects: Operation Kincorth, Late Night Shopping
• Locality- based settings, including youth and children’s centres
• Targeted youth support programmes, including restorative justice and sexual health
• Junior Offer led by YPSS extended services
• Sport Lincs Programme
• Young persons alcohol misuse strategy
• YOS programmes such as “Angling 4 a change”
• Local voluntary and community sector organizations: Shalom, Grimsby Town Sports and Educational Trust, and West Marsh Community Centre
• Youth crime prevention patrols directed by the National Intelligence Model (dissemination of latest intelligence )
• Child sexual exploitation patrols linking into local action plan, in line with the National Working Group; these patrols include youth workers working loosely with specifically trained police officers.

Success Measures:

• youth-related ASB reduced by over 60% to date from 2008
• criminal damage reduced by over 45% to date from 2008
• all triage clients to have an assessment within 5 working days of referral being received. Support to be provided on a 1:1 basis by an individual case worker
• all young people referred to Restorative Team to be placed on a waiting list and to be allocated a key worker at the earliest opportunity
• reducing the number of first time entrants to the criminal justice system (this is measured yearly through the Youth Offending Service)
• ensuring the reoffending rate within the triage programme continues to remain at a low level (currently at <2% reoffending)
• all young people to be signposted and supported into positive activities 
• >92% attendance at school for all young people accessing the service, 3 months after referral. 
• young people to be supported in attending specific groups, that are appropriate and within their locality
• young people referred to health professionals, if required
• 61% reduction, when compared to 2007/08, for youth offending
• youth crime as a percentage of overall crime shows a swing of -3.11%
• youth-related ASB has reduced by 48% since 2007/08 with, to date, a further 28% this financial year
• young people as victims of crime has reduced by 33% since 2007/2008
• first time entrants to the criminal justice system reduced from 477 to 120 from 2006-07
• savings to the public purse since 2008/2009 - £10,360,502.00 (a breakdown of these figures is available from the C4EO team).

Sustaining and replicating your practice

Barriers/Challenges:

• ensuring the range of approaches practised by, for example, youth workers, voluntary organisations and the police, is complementary
• different organisational cultures - shared success and objectives must be understood and appreciated
• communication and planning are key, with frequent discussion about issues, targeting, approaches and impact
• ensuring a robust process is in place for the identification and support for all witnesses, including young people.

What have we learned:

• Young people will respond positively if they are listened to and taken seriously.
• It is essential to follow through on what has been proposed or promised to young people and communities.
• Outcome Based Accountability is a key tool to enable stakeholder and inter-agency understanding and articulate demonstrable impact within communities.
• A solution-focused approach is essential, as barriers will inevitably emerge.
• Start with a pilot project or ward area and build upon lessons learned.
• Resources must be targeted based upon evidenced need.
• Agencies’ budgets must be aligned to ensure maximum impact.
• Need must be identified through a range of sources including local intelligence, voice and influence work with young people, local stakeholders and groups, and management information.

Next Steps:

• some independent research has been commissioned to shape how the current approaches can be developed further
• a focus on child sexual exploitation and to support young runaways
• further development of the youth alcohol misuse strategy
• Young People’s Support Services will take the lead in the future coordination of this inter-agency project, pulling together relevant partners through the existing partnership networks. This will include programme management, monitoring, evaluation and quality assurance. 
• Humberside Police will provide individual and locality intelligence, ensuring the replication is where it is most needed and engaging the appropriate target audience. Additional support will be provided by local policing teams and specific officers with the thematic role for youth crime early intervention 
• the partnership will provide access to quality assured community and voluntary sector delivery networks, ensuring that all organisations providing activities have appropriate policies and procedures around qualification frameworks and training, safeguarding, equalities, health and safety, supervision, financial management, customer care and specialist health care promotion. The VCS organisations will form part of the multi-agency delivery teams providing the activities for the target young people in the hotspot localities.

Savings

Resources were reprofiled in 2010/2011, in order to adequately staff this initiative. The service currently invests around £300,000 per year in the delivery of Street-based youth work and restorative interventions. Whilst this is a significant investment, NE Lincs believes the achievements to date, illustrate that this is an ‘invest to save’ initiative.

The Government funded a £7 million seven year research programme looking into restorative justice. In her independent evaluation, published in four reports (see 'Ministry of Justice Evaluation'), Professor Joanna Shapland found that in randomised control trials of restorative justice with serious offences (robbery, burglary and violent offences) by adult offenders:

The majority of victims chose to participate in face-to-face meetings with the offender, when it was offered by a trained facilitator.
85% of victims who took part were satisfied with the process.
Restorative Justice reduces the frequency of reoffending, leading to £9 of savings for every £1 spent on restorative justice.

The report concludes that diverting young offenders from community orders to a pre-court restorative justice conferencing scheme would produce a lifetime saving to society of almost £275 million (£7,050 per offender). The cost of implementing the scheme would be paid back in the first year and during the course of two parliaments (10 years,) society would benefit by over £1billion.

The average costs of detaining young people in custody have been published and further enquiries suggest that the true costs, and what they comprise, are simply not known. However, what we do know is that providing a prison bed in a youth offender's institution has been estimated in 2010 to cost about £100,000 per year. While these expenses are overwhelming, analysis suggests that the long term costs are higher. Prison is not just another bill for the state to pay: it is a potentially life-changing intervention that has long-lasting consequences for young people and wider society. Official statistics from the Youth Justice Board show that in 2008, secure young people’s home places cost on average£210,000 per annum and Young Offenders Institute places on average cost £57,000 per annum. It has been estimated that North East Lincolnshire Council Young People’s Support Service and its key strategic partners, including Humberside Police, have saved the public purse approx £4,121,386.00 for the years 2008 – 2010.

It is difficult to give accurate estimates locally on project costings because of the diversity of each case and services engaged, however, North East Lincolnshire Restorative Justice team was able to provide average typical costs per interventions. 

This is regarded as an invest to save initiative as it is reducing significantly the costs to the criminal justice system/children services. By making early intervention everyone’s business and through effective working relationships, there has been a significant saving in relation to the cost of dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour, which has also allowed valuable time to be spent working with the victims.

Top Tips

1. High Level Support. The success of the project is also due to strong strategic and operational leadership, strategic direction and a clear accountability framework. Create an Inclusive agenda.
2. Partnership with Purpose. Clarity of purpose, part of the process with any partnership has been breaking down the barriers between staff, by bringing them together and giving teams an opportunity to look at the differences we have to work with. Working with the police has been a challenge, not only to the youth workers, but also to the officers working on the projects. By knowing each other’s boundaries, the teams have been able to work more closely together. Where a young person has needed to be removed for his own safety, this has been done with police powers and the youth worker has been able to support the young person from the start.
3. Communication. Communicate with the right people in the right way, at the right time. 
4. Focus on Action and Accountability. This is another basic discipline that is common sense but not always common practice. When people know that they will be asked the simple question “Did you do what you said you would do?”, the atmosphere changes.
5. Be Flexible. Those who are most flexible will be the most effective.
6. Be Committed - to the vision, go looking for the positive. Think Win/Win

References

Simmons J and Dodd T, Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003, Home Office Statistical Bulletin, July 2003.
Social Exclusion Unit, National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal: Report of Policy Action Team 12: Young People, Cabinet Office, 2000.


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