Agencies must do more, says minister

Home Office minister John Denham last week criticised youth
agencies for failing to play their full part in combating youth

He said that “inward looking professional agencies” were standing
in the way of progress.

Speaking to an audience of senior police officers at a youth
justice conference in Bristol, Denham said social services
departments, local authorities and schools were all responsible for
tackling problems such as teenage gangs. He added that they should
not “abstain” from the battle against antisocial behaviour.

“In the months ahead, one of my priorities must be to ensure that
it is not just the police who are expected to respond to youth
nuisance or anti-social behaviour but all the other agencies too,”
he said.

To help front-line workers, including youth offending team workers,
Denham announced a package of support including more guidance on
final warnings, which were introduced two years ago for juveniles
who had committed their second medium or low-level offence.

Offenders receiving final warnings were supposed to be referred to
the local YOT, but Denham said the scheme was not working in some
areas and needed to be applied consistently across the country.

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