Persistent juvenile offenders could now be remanded in custody
rather than being released on bail, home office minister Hilary
Benn has announced, writes Clare
Courts are be given new powers to remand 12-16-year-old
persistent offenders into custody, in a bid to help the problem of
teenagers who repeatedly break the conditions of their bail.
The change is being made under section 130 of the Criminal
Justice and Police Act 2001.
The new powers will be available for young people charged with
medium level offences, such as car crime, non-domestic burglary and
vandalism, who the courts believe are likely to commit offences if
released on bail.
Eleven areas tackling street crime were given the powers in
April, and the scheme will be rolled out nationally this week.
Benn said: “It is an unfortunate fact that for a minority of
young people, custody really is the only way of protecting the
public,” he said.
“Courts across the country will now have the option of remanding
these teenagers into custody for their own and society’s
But The Children’s Society warns that innocent children
will be locked up as a result of the new law. It is calling for the
immediate repeal of section 130 of the Criminal Justice and Police
The children’s charity’s research found that more
than half of children put on remand in prison are later found to be
not guilty of an offence or given a community sentence. It also
found in 25 per cent of cases children are being jailed on remand
for more than 10 weeks, and in one case as long as 500 days.
The 11 pilot areas for the scheme were: Inner London, Greater
Manchester, west midlands, Thames Valley, Avon and Somerset,
Lancashire, West Yorkshire, south Yorkshire, Merseyside,
Nottinghamshire, and Northumbria.