Scots report rise in frequent offenders

Scottish ministers have failed in their attempt to cut the number of persistent young offenders in the country.

The number of persistent young offenders rose 16 per cent from a 2003-4 baseline of 1,201 to 1,388 in 2005-6, despite the target of a 10 per cent reduction.

Justice minister Cathy Jamieson (pictured) blamed the failure on agencies in “too many areas that are not delivering the necessary improvements for their communities”.

But the Association of Directors of Social Work said the figures should be “seen in the context of the increasing pressures on social work”.

Only 37 per cent of social work reports on young offenders were submitted to children’s reporters within 20 days, against a 75 per cent target. But the number of social work reports requested rose 19 per cent from 5,635 in 2003-4 to 6,703 in 2005-6.

ADSW children and families spokesperson Michelle Miller said: “This increase in demand has impacted on ourÉ ability to provide services to protect children or to address their offending behaviour.”

The number of referrals on offence grounds rose 11 per cent from 2003-4 to almost 38,000 in 2005-6.

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