Launch of briefing for PCCs on tackling youth crime


The Independent Commission on Youth Crime and The Early Intervention Foundation will today launch new guidelines for Police and Crime Commissioners calling on all PCCs to prioritise early intervention as the best and most economically viable way of preventing youth crime.

Launched at the Early Intervention Foundation’s seminar in the House of Commons, the report A fresh start to tackling youth crime [1] will call for greater efforts to ensure children and young people who risk becoming serious, violent and prolific adult offenders are ‘gripped’ by timely, early interventions that tackle the problems that they face.

It will argue that PCCs, with their responsibility to make cost-effective use of their local community safety budgets, have a vested interest in promoting early intervention approaches which not only work, but save money.

The guidelines will ask for a greater focus from police on tackling antisocial behaviour, youth crime and reoffending through work with families, schools and communities, as well as a wider use of restorative justice.

The guidelines were published by the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour, chaired by Sir Anthony Salz, Vice-Chairman of Rothschild whose blueprint for reform is based on three pillars of principle – prevention, restoration, integration.

The report proposes that large amounts of public money are being wasted through failure to deliver the right kind of help at the right time to our country’s most troubled children and young people.

The guidelines will argue that PCCs are well placed to lead a change of culture towards evidence-based strategies for early intervention – building alliances between police, local government, the health service and communities.

The Commission’s briefing welcomes moves away from an “expensive ‘arms race’ among political leaders determined to out-tough each other in their rhetoric about youth crime” but argues that there is no justification for a continued waste of taxpayers’ money on “ineffective sanctions that do little to prevent reoffending and fail to offer children timely help in turning away from a life of crime.”

The Early Intervention Foundation champions the use of evidence-based Early Intervention approaches which aim to improve children and young people’s social and emotional skills, language and communication, self-control and mental health. The EIF will say that early intervention can also take place long before young people are deemed to be ‘troubled’, to ensure that children have the social and emotional skills to stay on the right track from childhood all the way through to adulthood.


John Graham, Director of the Police Foundation, which hosts the Independent Commission said:

“The long downward trend in crime may be reversing and the nature of youth crime is changing. Increasing numbers of children and young people are at risk of new forms of criminal activity, such as cyber-bullying, mobile phone theft and gang-related offending. Police and Crime Commissioners, working with the police and their partners, should take the lead in building effective, evidence-based strategies for tackling youth crime.”   

Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation, Carey Oppenheim, commented:

“The annual cost of crime attributable to people with a conduct problem in childhood is £60 billion. Conduct disorder can cost up to £225,000 per child over a lifetime, while effective parenting programmes, proven to tackle it, can cost from £4000 per child[2]. Investing in our children’s social and emotional wellbeing through Early Intervention makes economic sense and these guidelines put it where it should be, at the heart of our policing and crime prevention strategy.”




1 The Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Antisocial Behaviour (“the Salz Commission”) was funded by the Nuffield Foundation between 2008 and 2011 and hosted by the Police Foundation. Its blueprint for reforming the response to youth crime  Time for a fresh start was published in 2010. Funding for the new briefing for Police and Crime Commissioners has also been provided by the Nuffield Foundation.