Friday, 16 March 2012

Lambeth's work with young offenders found to be 'poor' in wake of wave of stabbings

There is a worrying piece in the Evening Standard concerning Lambeth Council's failures around monitoring of young offenders.

It concerns a report, published yesterday, by HM Inspectorate of Probation.

The report found that serious young offenders in Lambeth (which the article points out is currently being hit by a wave of stabbings) are not being properly monitored by council staff.

Recent stabbings include the fatal attack on 17-year-old student Kwame Ofosu-Asare who was chased and stabbed while walking through the Moorlands Estate in Brixton to visit a friend on March 2.

Among the problems highlighted by the Inspectorate report:

- a widespread failure to identify the “risk of harm” that violent teenagers, including gang members, pose to other members of the public.

- inadequate work to reduce the likelihood of juvenile criminals re-offending

- poor management supervision to ensure that they are dealt with properly after their release.

The report warns that risk of harm assessments are done inadequately in nearly six out of 10 cases, with many under-rating the danger posed by juvenile offenders. Work on reducing the risk of re-offending is also done well only 52 per cent of the time.

Announcing the findings, Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank said: “We found a number of areas where practice fell below what was needed. Overall, we consider this a poor set of findings.”

I recently talked with young workers in Lambeth, who are greatly concerned about the violence that they are now routinely seeing, including many incidents of knife crime. It seems that the poor performance by Lambeth in monitoring and working with young offenders mixed with Lambeth's severe cuts to youth services, is contributing to the creation of a lethal cocktail of violence in the borough.

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