‘Let’s keep raising aspirations’: Youth crime figures plummet across Greater Manchester

The amount of charges given to young people between 18-24 years old in Greater Manchester has plummeted to almost a third of what it was five years ago.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request obtained by Mancunian Matters from GMP revealed that in 2012/13 there were 9,921 charges given to young people whereas last year it had been reduced to 6,776.

Figures from April to June this year showed that there was 794 charges given and if the year continues in the same direction the end results will be nearing 3,000.

Deborah Jump, 39, Criminology lecturer at MMU gave her opinion on why these figures may be dropping and what it might be caused by.

She told MM: “I think Manchester is siting people away from crime and raising aspirations of young people to increase their opportunities.

“Ten years ago young people were criminalised or stigmatised during the culture of hoodies and with the moral panic around young people which seems to be dipping.

“I think if we continue to have this positive attitude and doing all that we can to protect and make better life choices and examples I think it will continue to reduce further.

However she also admitted that the fall in charges might not be because there have been less offences committed but there are many factors to be deliberated.

She said: “There are many avenues to consider, it could be whether people are reporting less, the police could be recording it differently or there could genuinely be a reduction in young people offending.

“It could be the fact that there were people offending who have grown out of crime now.

“The age crime curve seems to stop offending at 24. If someone was offending at 14 and are now 24, chances are they stopped and have a partner and a job.”

There has also been a fall of first time entries (FTE) with young people in the criminal justice system shown on in the youth justice annual statistics from England and Wales.

This showed the number of FTEs has continued to fall since it peaked at 110,784 in 2007 and since then there has been an 82% fall shown from figures in 2015, with 20,544 FTEs.

This may have had an influence on why Greater Manchester has seen a drop in charges given to young people.

Ms Jump said: “It’s a good thing because it’s very difficult for them to be able to stop offending once they have been charged.

“People with low level offences are best dealt with a low level youth offending scheme because otherwise they actually become more criminalised.”

She said: “Manchester is high in crime, coupled with the fact we know that crime goes in hand with deprivation, education and mental health.”

Ms Jump also mentioned that young people should be seen as individuals and that we have to allow a bespoke punishment. 

She said: “Everyone has different needs, we have to have a specific approach for punishment for each person, and everyone is different. This is difficult with a very utopian perspective deduction in resources.”

Greater Manchester Police were not available for comment. 

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