New crime crackdown on children as young as EIGHT shows the way by cutting youth offending by 67%

Carianne Burke
Carianne Burke
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TEENAGE arrests have fallen by 67 per cent in Sheffield after a crackdown on potential offenders as young as eight.

In the five years from 2005/2006 arrests were down from 1,200 to 400.

Sheffield City Council’s Youth Offending Service says the breakthrough is due to new crime prevention initiatives targeting teenagers and younger children who show early signs of criminality.

Youngsters who display high-risk behaviour are warned and receive counselling and advice to help prevent them straying into a life of crime.

Sheffield’s success means the council’s partnership with police is to be a model for other cities to follow in the battle against youth crime.

The city’s new Head of Community Safety Chief Inspector Paul McCurry said: “Sheffield is recognised as being a model in this type of work and I go to other areas to help put into practice what we do in this city. It’s cheaper and better to prevent crime than deal with its effects.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to get the numbers down from 1200 to 400 and it takes a lot of hard work.”

Carrieanne Burke, from Hackenthorpe, aged 15, was helped by the initiative after suffering bereavements and problems at school.

“I was fighting with everyone, smashing things up,” said Carrieanne.

“I just felt angry all the time. A Council youth worker came to see me as part of my bail conditions and helped with my anger and to change schools. It really made a difference. Now I want to go on to help other children in similar positions.”