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Commissioner sees work organised helping young offenders leave their criminal past behind them.

18 August, 2015

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Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has visited young people taking part in a programme designed to help divert them away from crime.

Clive Grunshaw met the youngsters at the Ivy Street Community Centre, in Blackburn, where participants have been doing work in their communities with Child Action North West on behalf of the Youth Offending Teams as a way of paying back for offences they have committed.

The triage scheme aims to prevent young people from re-offending and slipping deeper into the criminal justice system by assessing them much earlier than before.

It means that if a young person commits an offence for the first time, a member from the Triage Service at CANW will work with them to make sure the right level of support is given. Taking part in the programme means the young people do not get a criminal record for their first offence.

This year, Mr Grunshaw has awarded £175,000 to the triage scheme.

The Commissioner said: “It was a pleasure to celebrate the excellent and valuable work of Child Action Northwest across Lancashire.

“I am committed to ensuring services are in place county-wide which reduce re-offending rates and give vulnerable young people the opportunities they need to turn their lives around. Child Action Northwest is a charity which does both those things, and I am delighted to be able to support it.

“It is important that young people are not criminalised unnecessarily, but rather are offered the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and make amends – and realise that they are capable of achieving positive things in their communities.

“This is what the young people involved in the scheme have done, and it was brilliant to see. I would like to congratulate them on their hard work. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

Between April 2014 and March 2015, 607 young people took part in the triage scheme.

One of the participants said being involved helped keep him out of trouble.

He said: “It prevents me from getting a criminal record and uses up my time and keeps me busy. I enjoyed the company and working in my community and it shows how much this community means.”

Faith Marriott MBE, criminal justice service manager at Child Action North West, added: “Triage has served the communities since 2009 and we have clear evidence of Young People making amends to victims and communities, understanding consequences of their behaviours but importantly reducing first time entrants into the Criminal Justice System.”

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