Luton Borough Council
18/09/2020 - Youth offending in Luton at all-time low
Youth offending statistics for Luton are at an all-time low thanks to the success of a multi-agency approach being spearheaded by the council.
Service Manager for Luton Youth Offending and Targeted Youth Service, Dave Collins, recently reported to the council’s Children’s Services Review Group that the service had enjoyed the best performing year in its history.
Luton’s current youth offending rate per 100,000 of population is 145, compared to the national rate of more than 200, which meant that in 2019/20 only 33 children came into the criminal justice system for the first time, most for lower-level offending. For young people already in the system who go on to re-offend, Luton is at 25 per cent compared to 39 per cent nationally.
“These are really encouraging figures, and testimony to the collaborative approach we take here in Luton,” said Dave. “We realised some time ago that it was key to identify young people at risk of criminal exploitation as early as possible, so we established the Multi-Agency Gangs Panel with the support of funding from London Luton Airport Limited. This multi-agency partnership approach has been a major contributor to the excellent figures we are seeing now.
“We work with colleagues in social care, housing, community safety, schools, the police and various other agencies and community organisations in a joined up approach to youth justice in Luton. Everyone has a responsibility to protect children and young people and it is only through this type of collaboration that we can hope to succeed.
“Financially, this is a major benefit to Luton Council,” Dave added. “Each young person coming into the criminal justice system potentially costs this authority tens of thousands of pounds, depending on what intervention they receive. If they go into custody the financial burden on children’s services is huge because when they are placed on remand, children’s services have to meet the cost of that remand and allocate a social worker, putting further pressure on our resources.
“This all ties in with many other council priorities. Young people are not born offenders, given choices, aspirations and a safe and nurturing environment, children and young people make positive choices. We know that factors such as deprivation, lack of education and positive opportunities all have a part to play. The key to success is education and the early identification of issues, because the earlier you identify a young person who is at risk the sooner you can put intervention in place and safeguard them against criminal exploitation.”
Councillor Mahmood Hussain, portfolio holder for Children – Health and Wellbeing, added: “These figures are really outstanding and I want to congratulate Dave Collins and everyone involved in the process, across so many teams, for this achievement.
“Our corporate values state that Luton is a council that CARES, and there can be few more important indications of how much we care than the protection we provide for young people. Individual values include being collaborative, supporting and empowering. Again, these results demonstrate all of those values being put into action for the benefit of not only the young people involved but the entire community of Luton.”
© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ