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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 22:20 GMT
Youth Inclusion targets "unrealistic"
Sir Charles Pollard
Sir Charles Pollard
The head of a Government scheme that aims to steer youngsters from offending has conceded it set an unrealistic target when it came to reducing crime.

Sir Charles Pollard, acting chair of the Youth Justice Board, said that expecting "Youth Inclusion Programmes" (YIPs) to cut recorded crime by 30 per cent in some of the most deprived areas of the country was "wrong".

Speaking to tonight's BBC's Panorama programme, Sir Charles Pollard also promised to look into revelations that some schemes do not tell children or parents that youngsters names were on lists identifying them as one of a 'top fifty' in an area, deemed to be at risk of offending.

Youth Inclusion Programmes have been in operation for the past four years. They work by identifying a core group of thirteen to sixteen year olds in different areas, and attempting to steer the youngsters from trouble.

Children not told

But Sir Charles Pollard, who was Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Police for eleven years has admitted the target on crime was unrealistic.

"It was really saying we can reduce crime by youngsters and adults by 30 per cent when clearly YIPs are focused very much on youngsters.

"There are also lots of recording issues about how you identify crime. So it has been a difficult one and we've now set a much more realistic target."

The Panorama programme discovered that some YIP workers do not tell the children, or their parents, that they are on the 'top fifty'.

Sir Charles acknowledged concerns that the Youth Justice Board had not set guidelines on whether YIP's should tell youngsters that they'd been singled out.

Guidance

Youth Inclusion Schemes
Music can be included in YIP schemes

He said: "I think in some YIP's this is happening. We haven't given detailed guidance on whether we tell them or not."

He promised to look into Panorama's findings, telling programme makers he was grateful for their information.

He said the Youth Justice Board may well issue guidance "if that is a really burning issue".

Sir Charles also admitted that when it came to one of the most recent Youth Justice Board initiatives, "Youth Inclusion and Support Panels", With the benefit of hindsight they may not be correctly identifying some children they put on the new scheme.

Worthwhile

The Youth Justice Board launched Youth Inclusion and Support Panels last year.

These multi-agency forums aim to spot children as young as eight who may be in danger of getting involved in crime in the future.

Sir Charles Pollard told Panorama: "There may be around the edges some youngsters who show all sorts of risk factors and do need help, but with the benefit of hindsight they were not at risk of offending.

"But if we are helping them in any event to have better lives and we thought that those risk factors did mean they were likely to be offending I think that's still worthwhile".

SEE ALSO:
Tackling Tomorrow's Tearaways
06 Feb 04  |  Panorama
Youth Inclusion Programmes
22 Feb 04  |  Panorama
Youth Inclusion and Support Panels
22 Feb 04  |  Panorama
How teenagers are targeted
22 Feb 04  |  Panorama
Your comments
20 Feb 04  |  Panorama


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