Young offenders in court quicker

PERSISTENT young offenders in Suffolk are being brought before the courts faster than many other areas in the country, new figures reveal.

Danielle Nuttall

PERSISTENT young offenders in Suffolk are being brought before the courts faster than many other areas in the country, new figures reveal.

The county took just 45 days to arrest and sentence in the courts prolific young criminals between December 2007 and February.

This exceeded the Government's target by 26 days and saw Suffolk placed joint third in a table of the best-performing areas in England and Wales, behind only Cheshire and West Mercia.

A persistent young offender is defined as a young person aged between 10 and 17 who has been sentenced by any criminal court in the UK three or more separate occasions for one or more offences -within three years of the last sentencing.

David Taylor, Assistant District Crown Prosecutor and Persistent Young Offenders (PYO) specialist for the Crown Prosecution Service Suffolk, said: “We recognise the importance of dealing with persistent young offenders as quickly as possible, and work closely with our criminal justice partners to achieve this.

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“The fact that we have exceeded the national target of 71 days, by reducing the time it takes to deal with PYOs from arrest to sentence to an average of 45 days, reflects our joint commitment to this issue.”

The Government originally pledged to halve the time it takes to deal with persistent young offenders from arrest to sentence from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days in 2002.

But the speedy processing of these offenders remains an ongoing target.

Nationally, the average time between arrest and sentence for persistent young offenders in England and Wales during February was 62 days, which equalled the previous month's figure.

The overall average time from arrest to sentence for cases sentenced in magistrates' courts was 51 days in February - down two days from January.

Cases sentenced in the crown court took an average of 207 days from arrest to sentence in February, which was down 15 days from January.

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