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Youth crime and prevention

Bexley's Youth Offending Team (YOT) was established under the provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Its responsible for providing and co-ordinating local Youth Justice Services for children and young people aged between 10 and 17 who are offending or who are at risk of offending.

Youth offending teams represent a joined up approach to youth crime, expressed at local level through the Community Safety Partnership. The YOT is multi-disciplinary and the team includes social workers, police and probation officers, health and education workers.

The principal aim of the team is to prevent and reduce youth crime.

Bexley's key supporting themes are:

  • Arrest, Diversion and Early Prevention Assessments of Need - the YOT has a prevention officer who oversees the delivery of Bexley's Arrest and Diversion Triage Programme, Youth Inclusion Projects and targeted youth diversionary activities. Early assessments of need and health and education screening are offered to young people who have been arrested for the first time to ensure that they are appropriately supported by relevant services and, at the same time, puts any victims of their offending at the heart of the interventions. Other targeted diversionary schemes are available for young people involved in, or at risk of involvement in, anti-social behaviour. These prevention services offer early help to young people in need on a voluntary engagement basis. The range of diversionary activities are in place to prevent and divert children and young people from entering the criminal justice system and to keep them safe by offering positive activities and support services as an alternative.
  • Involvement of victims - ensuring that when appropriate the victim's views are heard and that they are given the opportunity to be involved in any reparation or restorative justice conferences.
  • Better parenting - reinforcing the responsibilities of parents and providing advice and guidance on improving parenting skills.
  • Appropriate use of custody - The YOT offers robust community supervision alternatives to custody to ensure that it is only the young people for whom these alternatives are not appropriate are sentenced to custody. The YOT works closely with custodial institutions to ensure that time spent in custody is as constructive as possible and that plans to help young people are put into effect while in custody and on release.
  • Changing offending behaviour - The YOT delivers a variety of programmes that address the factors associated with offending behaviour to ensure that young offenders understand the consequences of their actions and take steps to change their behaviour in order to reduce the likelihood of them re-offending and minimise the risk of harm to others through their behaviour.
  • Monitoring and evaluation - to ensure that the work of the YOT is effective and is based on evidence based practice.

Youth justice services provided and co-ordinated:

  • The provision of persons to act as appropriate adults for children and young people detained by the police
  • Arrest and Diversion Triage prevention assessments, health and education screening and signposting to relevant services
  • Assessments and the offer of intervention programmes for children and young people who are subject to a police 'final warning'
  • The provision of bail support and remand services
  • The placement of children and young people remanded to local authority accommodation
  • The provision of reports and other information required by the Courts in criminal proceedings
  • The assessment and supervision of children and young people subject to community orders and those sentenced to custody
  • The co-ordination of custodial placements through the Youth Justice Board's placement service
    The implementation of referral orders including the recruitment and training of community panel volunteers and volunteer learning mentors
  • Offender reparation and restorative interventions for victims
  • Public protection arrangements
  • Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Risk Management

The Youth Offending Team takes referrals directly from the Courts in the form of statutory orders and from the police through the Arrest and Diversion Triage Programme and pre-court final warnings.

The team works with a number of statutory and voluntary organisations to provide a variety of intervention programmes which include programmes aimed at young people who are at risk of committing offences. These agencies include:

  • Youth Service (universal, targeted and tier 1 substance misuse services)
  • Society of Voluntary Associations (third sector associations and Youth Strategy Partnership
  • Youth Action Diversity Trust (targeted diversionary activities and reparation and restorative justice services)
  • Charlton Athletic Community Scheme (targeted activities and consortium lead)
  • Police Cadets
  • Family Intervention Project (parenting services)
  • Early Intervention Team and Early Assessment Hub
  • Victim Support
  • Bexley Moorings
  • The New Horizon Federation Bexley (alternative education provision, behaviour and pathways short stay school)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Bexley's Youth Engagement Service (for counselling, anger management and substance misuse tier 2 services)

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