Reoffending rates amongst vulnerable young people across Northumbria are falling after funding from the PCC launched the Out of Court Disposal programme – a new way of diverting young people away from a life crime, and instead given high quality mentoring and support.

Despite only running for 6 months, the initial impact is clear – in North Tyneside alone, only 1 of the 37 participants engaged through this programme has went on to become an entrant into the Criminal Justice System. Taking an individual and values based approach is key to the long term success of this project, and one the PCC is keen to encourage.

Kim said: “Through this new way of dealing with offending, and understanding what has happened in that young person’s life that may have led to this, bespoke individual support can be provided by a range of professionals. It is the exact sort of work that will lead to improving lives to prevent crime.”

The project, which encourages the use of the Out of Court Disposals, allows the Youth Justice Services to work with the individuals involved to build a programme of mentoring and support alongside services including; health, education, employment and other third sector organisations.

Northumberland Youth Justice Service, which has seen a 44% reduction in violence against the person offences (Jan – Mar 2018/19 vs 2019/20), has praised the collaborative approach and committed to this way of supporting young people past the funded period.

Cllr Wayne Daley, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland Youth Justice Service has always been passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people, their families and their communities.  This commitment to making a difference informed a new collaborative approach, with Northumberland YJS being a key driver in the development and introduction of the new Out Of Court Disposal Panel right across the Northumbria Police Force area.

 “The new initiative enables the Youth Justice Services to support young people at the earliest opportunity with a swift response to identified problems and has proven to be very successful in reducing further offending, whilst providing support and direction to the young people and their families.”

By understanding what adversity in this young person’s life may have led to this event, the PCC aims to ensure reoffending continues to decrease, along with the number of young people entering the Criminal Justice system for the first time.

Kim said: “By understanding past circumstances and providing tailored support around that, we hope we can have a long term impact on these young people. The work being delivered will only be a success if it prevents these individuals from falling back into crime and offending once their direct support concludes.”

“This approach will not only benefit those involved, but the families of those individuals, the communities in which they live, and also the operational demands on the force. By supporting those who can quickly become repeat offenders at the first opportunity, the burden on the force to deal with these individuals repeatedly over time is removed.”

Since the Out of Court Disposal option commenced, North Tyneside Youth Justice Service have recorded a 63% reduction in first time entrants, clear signs that the approach is working and supporting those involved. Inspector Rob Bosson, who has played a key role in developing this approach in Northumbria, praised the work and highlighted the wider impact on communities and operational demands of the force.

Inspector Bosson said: “The development of this approach highlights the commitment of Northumbria Police and our partners to deliver meaningful interventions which change mindsets and support young people.

“We know from past experience that criminalisation of young people adds to the prospect of further criminality.

“With intervention and diversion work, we have a chance to change that person’s outlook to prevent reoffending and entry into the criminal justice system.

“The Youth Justice Services in the area have been instrumental in the delivery of this project and our strong partnership working is making a real difference to people’s lives.

“This approach is already leading to better outcomes for young people and in the long-term will hopefully see a reduction in demand across all services – all of which will ultimately benefit the communities we serve and are proud to be a part of.”

Given the success and impact of the results during the funded period, the Youth Justice Services have committed to continuing to use the Out of Court Disposal option where appropriate, and work with the PCC and Northumbria Police to reduce reoffending and first time entry.