Manchester welcomes new anti-crime scheme for vulnerable children

A new scheme has been announced in Manchester to reduce the number of vulnerable young people getting involved in crime.

Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit has partnered up with the charity SHiFT to offer one-to-one support to vulnerable children who may become involved in the cycle of crime.

Similar schemes have been in place in Tameside since December 2022, as well as the London locations Greenwich, Kingston and Richmond, with these areas reporting an improvement in the outcomes for the children involved.

Kate Green, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and fire, said: “We know that this is a great city to grow up in but there are children living in very difficult circumstances. 

“These kids are more vulnerable so we need to make sure that we’ve got a very special effort to support them, give them the best childhood that we can and give them the best prospects for the future.

“Too many children in Manchester do end up in the criminal justice system, too many of them end up being locked up, and the long term outcomes for those children and for wider society is terrible and expensive.”

The council claimed that SHiFT schemes like this could save the taxpayer up to £2.5 million per child by the time they are 40, with 27 children in Manchester already being identified as candidates for the programme.

The two-year project will be funded by the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit, SHiFT donors and Manchester City Council. 

Paul Marshall, the Strategic Director for Children and Young People, said: “The public would be shocked at the amount of money we spend to lock up children and actually not have a positive outcome for them.

“I would ask the public to think around if we could spend that money better in a different way.”

Green claimed that in Tameside, they have seen better school attendance, fewer people running away from home and less likelihood of crime due to the intense mentoring from each child’s personal ‘SHiFT Guide’.

This project is part of the council’s 10-year ‘Greater than Violence’ strategy, with Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader for Manchester City Council, saying that the ambition is to become a UNICEF child-friendly city.

Feature image by Emily Cooper, 2023

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