HUNDREDS of teenagers are turning their backs on crime in Sheffield thanks to a different way of dealing with new offenders.
Numbers of young people involved in low level offending or anti-social behaviour have dropped by 67% to just under 400 over the past five years a fall attributed to a revised approach by the council’s Youth Offending Service.
The team has been identifying and targeting teenagers – or children as young as eight – who may be at risk of offending. Family members, community leaders, neighbours or even teachers are able to contact the service if they are in need of support.
They work with the youngster and their families to help make sure all of the necessary help and guidance is in place to stop them straying from the straight and narrow.
Government officials have been so impressed by the approach that the team has been awarded £75,000 to bolster the scheme, and Sheffield may be used as an example for other authorities.
Youth crime prevention manager Wayne Hoyle said: “We have found that dealing directly with young people and their families before it gets to the stage of criminal acts being committed has made a big difference. It may be that these families just need a bit of support or guidance. Or it maybe there is a range of issues that we can help them to deal with. We can also help steer young people on to a different path by inspiring them to do something else instead.”