Headlines: December 22nd, 1999

Identifying 4-11 year olds who are likely to become involved in crime is the aim of a new initiative “On Track”. The 30 pilot projects will kick start a shift in emphasis away from dealing with the problems of offending and towards keeping youngster away from crime. It has long been recognised that people working in social services, police and schools are often able to identify those children at risk of criminal behaviour later in life, but this is the first time that an attempt has been made to make use of the knowledge.The “On Track” pilots, which will run for 7-10 years, will be based in natural communities of around the size of a large secondary school catchment area. They will develop plans for enhanced services with a launch date of Autumn 2000. Funding of up to 400,000 pounds will be available for the first two years.

Some 80 local authorities will be invited to form partnerships with health, educational and social services providers, youth offending teams, the police and relevant voluntary sector organisations, and to bid to take part in the programme. The bid winners will be announced in the Spring.