Youth offending team funding ‘halved’

11 Mar 19

Funding to help local authorities keep young people away from serious crime has been halved since 2010, an umbrella group has said.

Youth justice grants, which fund council youth offending teams, have tumbled from £145m in 2010-11 to £71.5m in 2018-19, according to the Local Government Association.

Councils have already set their budgets for 2019-20 but are still awaiting their allocations for youth justice grants, making it “extremely difficult” to plan services aimed at preventing gangs and violent crime, the LGA said.

The group, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, called for funding to at least be maintained at last year’s levels.

Over the last decade, youth offending teams have presided over an 86% drop in first time entrants to the youth justice system and a 78% drop in arrests. The number of youth cautions dropped by 100,000 (91%) over the same period, the LGA said.

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “The recent spate of tragic violence across the country underlines the importance of investing in services which protect and support young people keeping them safe from the lure of gangs or from becoming involved in serious crime.”

Bramble warned that there should be no delay to the allocation of youth justice grants, which will be handed down by the Ministry of Justice.

CIPFA released figures to PF last week showing spending on services for young people in England has fallen by 18% since 2014, which includes leisure-time activities for young people at risk of teenage pregnancy, substance misuse and crime.

 

Home secretary Sajid Javid met with police chiefs on Wednesday last week to discuss the recent rise in knife crimes and said on Twitter that resources were “important”:

 

 

The Financial Times has reported that Javid asked the Treasury for more funding to boost police numbers and tackle knife crime at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday last week. 

But chancellor Phillip Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that police forces must use their existing budgets to tackle knife crime.

He told the radio show on Thursday there needs to be a “surging of resources from other areas of policing activity into dealing with this spike in knife crime”.

“That’s what you do in any organisation. You get a specific problem occurring in one area of the operation, you move resources to deal with that.”

The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for comment.

Read Emily Twinch’s feature for PF on ‘badly overstretched’ police budgets.

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