The Journal, Newcastle: Large rise in criminal acts by repeat offenders

Monday, 11 May, 2009

THE number of yobs repeatedly committing crimes has risen by 60% since 1997, new figures will reveal today.

Ministry of Justice figures show the number of Persistent Young Offenders (PYOs) in England and Wales increased from 9,868 in 1997 to 15,819 last year.

The number of offences they commit each year has risen by more than 80% to nearly 80 every day.

A Persistent Young Offender is someone aged 10- 17 sentenced for a recordable offence three times or more over three years.

The figures were revealed to the Tories in written parliamentary answers.

Shadow police minister David Ruffley said the system is failing to keep offenders off the streets or rehabilitate them.

He said: "These figures make a mockery of Labour's promises to tackle youth crime. There have been 46 Labour strategies since 1997 to try and tackle youth crime and it's now clear they have failed." Justice Minister David Hanson said education and training for young offenders was helping cut re-offending.

He said: "We want to help young people get away from crime. But we are clear that we will use tough enforcement when any young person oversteps the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and we will ensure that the most serious crimes are investigated and prosecuted.

"The courts must sentence on the facts of each case, taking seriousness, culpability and harm into account.

There are a range of sentences available to the courts, including fines and prison, but also tough community sentences, which involve payback to society and aim to change patterns of behaviour to turn offenders away from crime."