The leader of the Metropolitan police force has called for a
multi agency group to tackle youth crime in the capital,
writes Clare Jerrom.
Lord Toby Harris, chairperson of the Met police, told a London
conference on education and youth crime there was a 40 per cent
increase in violent street crime over the past year. The number of
young people involved in street crime rose by 57 per cent over that
period, and 65 per cent of people accused of street crime are aged
between 10 and 17 years-old.
Harris urged professionals to focus on early interventions: “But
we must try to intervene long, long before the anti-social
behaviour order and the need for tagging, by looking for the causes
and using all the resources available to us to identify the
problems and the individuals most likely to become tomorrow’s
Early signs in a potential young offender should be identified,
such as misbehaving of youths at school, bullying and vandalism, he
said. The huge number of youngsters who re-offend when they are
released on bail, was due to problems not being identified at an
early age, he added.
“Do we want our youngsters to graduate with honours from our
schools and universities? Or do we want them to graduate as highly
skilled burglars and robbers from our detention centres and
prisons?” Harris asked.
Harris welcomed David Blunkett’s announcements on Tuesday
that bail tagging would be used to crack down on persistent
He said the Met had identified areas in each London borough
where a hard core of persistent young offenders acted as if the law
did not apply to them.