Chaos as crime diversion initiatives proliferate

The ad-hoc growth of initiatives aimed at diverting children and
young people from crime and anti-social behaviour has led to
serious confusion on the ground, according to new government

A study by academics from Newcastle university published by the
government last week found that in areas where there is a
proliferation of local initiatives the management and delivery of
services seems so complex that the impact of any one service is
nearly impossible to determine.

They say that instead of a comprehensive approach to the
delivery of services there is an ad hoc approach in which new
initiatives are launched with little regard to how they will
interact with existing initiatives, little focus on mutually
compatible objectives and little understanding among professionals
about relationships between different activities.

The researchers also warn of another serious problem in
measuring the effectiveness of interventions. Populations in
deprived areas tend to be very mobile, and area-based regeneration
initiatives may speed up population mobility by attracting new
people into the area which is perceived as “up and

“If the targeted population changes, questions must be
asked as to whether an initiative is actually reaching those people
for whom it was originally intended.” If statistics show a
reduction in crime or anti-social behaviour, this may be because
the people with offending behaviour have moved out of the area and
been replaced by more law-abiding residents.

Targeting initiatives: diverting children and young people from
crime and anti-social behaviour. Peter McCarthy et al. Department
for Education and Skills.

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