Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 12:45 UK

Figures show fall in youth crime

Youth teams have been working with the families of young offenders

Youth offences in Hull have fallen by 24% since 2004, figures released by the city council have revealed.

The number of offences committed by under-18s in the city dropped from 2,596 in 2004 to 1,962 in 2008.

The council said the work of its youth offending team (YOT) had helped contribute to the reduction.

The team runs restorative practice programmes in which offenders undertake community work and are encouraged to apologise for their actions.

Staff also work with the families of young criminals to try to stop their offending behaviour.

The council said reoffending rates had fallen by 26% between 2004 and 2008.

The YOT is a partnership between the council, police, probation service and social work department.

Its staff are now being deployed to police stations, to work with young offenders at the earliest opportunity.

'Positive statistics'

Nick Metcalfe, of the YOT, said; "We are assessing children properly and thoroughly and we are offering them programmes which change their behaviour.

"We are helping them to make the change that keeps them on the straight and narrow."

John Drew, chief executive of the Youth Justice Board, which oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales, said: "The hard work of the team is reflected in positive statistics which show reductions in numbers of offences as well as fewer young people becoming involved in crime.

"The work of youth offending teams is crucial in helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime and make cities like Hull safer places to live.

"We know if we can successfully stop offending in a 14-year-old or 15-year-old, we can save them and their potential victims a huge amount of grief further down the line."

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