Headlines: June 9th, 1998

There’s been a warning that there’s much to do by schools, social services, police, the courts system and probation services before new crime legislation can be implemented successfully.

Ahead of change promised by the Crime and Disorder Bill, the Audit Commission has surveyed local services for young offenders.

Misspent Youth ’98, reveals that it takes too long – on average four and a half months – from arrest to sentence. It also criticises the lack of speedy introduction of a system of warnings for young offenders that has been proved to save money.

Also criticised are information systems which are inadequate and hinder communication between agencies, youth justice workers who spend only 30% of their time working with young people to tackle their offending behaviour, and the lack of account taken of the educational needs of young offenders.

Andrew Foster, Controller of the Audit Commission, has called for agencies to co-ordinate their strategies for young people, and to get better at sharing data.

Misspent Youth ’98 is available from Audit Commission Publications on freephone 0800 502030 priced £20.