Efforts to turn around young offenders’ lives in Hackney are ‘disappointing’

Efforts to prevent young offenders from harming members of the public and committing further crimes are falling ‘substantially’ below required standards in Hackney, according to a damning report published yesterday (Wednesday).

Inspectors found that the quality of youth offending work in the borough was well below the national average when they visited the council’s youth offending teams last October.

‘Drastic’ improvement is needed to reduce the risk of offenders hurting other people, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) said in the Core Case study.

This comes despite Hackney having a particularly high youth offending rate of 47 per 1,000 people compared to 38 nationally.

The research showed that work to protect the young people was only sufficient 47 per cent of the time – much lower than the figure for England and Wales of 68 per cent.

Action to protect the public was only good enough in 43 per cent of the case, compared to 63 per cent nationally.

And work to reduce the likelihood of the young person committing further crimes was rated at 58 per cent against 71 per cent across England and Wales.

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Julie Fox, assistant chief inspector, stressed that the examination had taken place when Hackney’s youth offending team was undergoing “significant changes” to bring services into one core unit called Young Hackney – but that ‘substantial improvements’ were required.

“We are aware that these are, in this context, a disappointing set of findings for the managers and staff in Hackney,” she said.

“We hope, however, that they provide them with the evidence and pointers that they need to target the improvement work already ongoing effectively.”

Cllr Rita Krishna, cabinet member for children’s services, said the council had already made fundamental changes the service in recent months.

“We are pleased that inspectors have confidence in Young Hackney and I am confident that our systems and our staff are well placed to provide a high quality service that, if inspected now, would achieve higher scoring.”