Local authority leaders have called on the Government to invest more in youth justice grants as part of the effort to tackle knife crime.
The grants, which fund the work of youth offending teams (YOTs), have been halved from £145m in 2010/11 to £71.5m in 2018/19.
The Local Government Association says that YOTs have achieved ‘huge success’ in working with young people to prevent them getting involved in youth crime.
Over the last decade, there has been an 86% drop in first time entrants to the youth justice system and a 78% drop in arrests. The number of youth cautions handed out decreased by more than 100,000 (91%) in the same period.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, argues that investing in services which support young people will help fight the recent ‘spate of tragic violence across the country’.
‘Youth offending teams within local authorities have an outstanding record of reducing youth crime and making a real difference to young people’s lives, but they are under huge pressure after seeing their Government funding halved,’ she said.
‘We share the Government’s determination to tackle youth crime, but it needs to properly fund the services that work most closely with young people at risk of offending.
‘It is also important that there isk no delay in councils finding out how much funding they will be allocated, so they can effectively plan services to support young people.’