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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February 2004, 13:41 GMT
Tackling tomorrow's tearaways
Young people
Panorama: Tackling Tomorrow's Tearaways was broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, 22 February 2004 at 2215 GMT

The Government is spending millions on schemes to identify children who may become tomorrow's criminals. The idea - if you get to kids young enough you can divert them from trouble.

Across the country there are meetings behind closed doors to decide who could be the child criminals of the future. Forms are filled in and children are scored according to their risk of offending.

But does all this work? Are they getting the right kids - and how much do children and families know about what's happening?

Over the last five months Panorama has had access to different schemes across Britain which aim to target future trouble makers and keep them from a criminal career.

The programme talks to workers on the ground who admit they keep secret lists of children they've identified for their scheme. Should they come clean and tell families and children what it's really all about?

Youngsters on some of Britain's toughest estates tell Panorama what it's like living on the crime frontline; about their fears of getting into trouble with the law, and the realities of living alongside junkies and crack dealers.

The programme also follows the lives of children and families who've been put on pre-crime schemes and asks whether it's kept them on the straight and narrow.

With juvenile disorder high on the public and political agenda, is this a revolutionary way of tackling youth crime? Or are we labelling thousands of children before they've even committed an offence?

Production team:
Reporter: Sarah Spiller
Producer: Nick Hayes
Deputy Editors: Andrew Bell, Sam Collyns
Editor: Mike Robinson

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