Project aims to stop “troubled young people” entering a life of crime

Charge/Arrest Bedford Bedfordshire Police

The government-backed Turnaround Project aims to catch “troubled young people” in Bedford borough on the edge of criminality, a meeting heard.

The Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (30 October) was given an update on the role played by the Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service.

Pat Jennings, youth offending service manager, told the Committee that the service works with children from ten years old until their 18th birthday.

“They are either at the cusp of criminality or involved in criminal activities,” he said, “We also work with the parents and also the victims of youth crime.

“Our reason for being is to actually provide interventions for those children to help them to live crime-free lives and not to re-offend,” he said.

Mr Jennings added that the service is also carrying out earlier interventions, through its Turnaround Project.

“One of the main factors [for this] is the effect on them in later life if they continue to commit crime,” Mr Jennings said.

This Turnaround Project aims to connect children and teenagers to “targeted, wraparound support” to stop them from going down a path of criminality.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) website says this can include mentoring, extra school tuition, sports clubs, help to address any issues at school or at home, with their mental health or with substance misuse.

Therefore “helping to tackle the root causes of behaviour and helping children to get their lives back on track”.

Chris Morris, chief officer for education, SEND and schools infrastructure, told the Committee that getting to someone early is the “best scenario”.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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