Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow gang project sees offending drop

Group of youths
Image caption Offenders are referred by Strathclyde Police for support from the charity Includem

A pilot project working with teenage gang members in Glasgow has seen a drop in their offending.

As part of the initiative Strathclyde Police refer youngsters for intensive support from the charity, Includem.

A report, by the charity, looked at the progress made by 23 teenagers, aged 14 to 18, by March this year.

Among nine teenagers who left the scheme there was a 47% reduction in the offences they were charged with in the six months after moving on.

The charity also reported a 62% reduction in offending, with a 73% reduction in violent offences, for those still being supported by the project.

The two-year initiative, which started last January last, is funded by the Scottish government and the Robertson Trust.

The teenagers referred to Includem were responsible for crimes including possession of an offensive weapon, police assault and vandalism.

The charity looked at the six months prior to them joining the scheme compared to the six months after they left.

Better outcomes

Angela Morgan, chief executive of Includem, said: "The reason they were singled out and referred to us was because they were reoffending and particularly difficult for police and others to work with."

"When you look at the backgrounds of young people we work with they have not had good experiences of what adults are.

"This is not an excuse. We are very challenging to young people. But we show them how it can be different and give them that bridge."

Includem estimated the project costs £6,656 per young offender every six months, on average.

Ms Morgan said the cost was far lower than the estimated £40,000 per year if they went to jail.

She said: "In terms of saving money and putting young people on a path to better outcomes, we've achieved a lot in a relatively short space of time."

The programme is voluntary but offenders referred to it attend around 80% of all appointments, the report said.

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: "Strathclyde Police are showing the way with this scheme which has achieved an enormous amount in a short period of time.

"Events in England over the last week underline the importance of projects like this and I am certain other forces will now be looking to learn from what is being achieved by Includem.

She added: "The Scottish Government's investment in 1,000 extra police officers has also helped drive crime rates down to a 32-year low and make Scotland's streets safer.

"There is absolutely no complacency, and there is always more to do to make our streets safer."

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