Young offenders in North Somerset likely to reoffend, study shows

Police car.

Police car. - Credit: Nick Page. Hayman.

Young reoffenders in North Somerset commit, on average, eight more crimes after their first conviction, data has revealed.

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data shows 80 young offenders aged under 18 left custody, received a non-custodial conviction or were cautioned in 2017-18.

Of those, 28 (35 per cent) went on to commit another offence within 12 months.

The reoffenders committed 217 further crimes among them - an average of 7.8 offences each.

Nationally, 38 per cent of juvenile offenders in 2017-18 committed another crime within a year - compared with 41 per cent from 2016-17 - amid a steep fall in the number of juvenile first-time entrants to the criminal justice system.

The MoJ figures show that, nationally, juveniles are also more likely to reoffend than adults.

In North Somerset, 28 per cent of adult offenders reoffended over the same period. Across England and Wales, 29 per cent of adults reoffended.

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Dr Tim Bateman, chairman of the National Association for Youth Justice, warned that the falling numbers of juvenile offenders and reoffenders nationally was only partly down to children being less likely to break the law.

He said: "The main explanation is a shift in how minor lawbreaking is treated - an increasingly large proportion of minor misdemeanours result in an informal response that doesn't get into the figures.

"As a consequence, the smaller number of children who do now come into the system are very different from those who did 10 years ago when there was a tendency for all detected youth crime to get a formal response - however petty."

Children in England and Wales are deemed to have criminal responsibility from the age of 10, meaning they can be arrested and brought to court for committing a crime.

The Government is being urged to avoid criminalising children by diverting them from the justice system where possible, amid calls to raise the age from when children can be arrested and charged.

Dr Bateman added: "We also need to reduce levels of poverty so fewer children suffer various forms of victimisation - which is associated with later violent behaviour."