£1 million to put more youth workers in police stations

Photo by Matt Brown.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised £1 million to put more youth workers in police stations and help young people in custody.

More than £450,000 funding will pay to expand the current scheme – which sees youth workers meet youngsters immediately after their arrest, to start turning them away from crime.

More than a third of young people who commit a crime re-offend within a year.

But since 2018, the London project – run by the Metropolitan Police, ex-offender training charity Bounce Back and youth employment foundation New Era – has worked with more than 1,000 young people.

More than 250 have had training, and almost 100 are now working – although 81 are now in prison.

City Hall has also promised £550,000 for a new intensive youth worker training scheme.

One hundred front line staff will complete a 26-day course to boost their skills in keeping vulnerable youngsters safe, dealing with mental health issues, and business planning.

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The funding – from London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) – aims to support youth workers as lockdown eases.

Though crime has fallen over the last eleven weeks, the Mayor has warned that violence could spike as Government restrictions ease.

VRU chief Lib Peck said tackling the root causes of crime is “now more vital than ever” amid the pandemic.

Youth worker training will “empower” those “at the heart” of London’s response to violence, Ms Peck said.

“Youth workers on the frontline have the lived experience and relationships to deliver those early interventions that can make all the difference,” she added.

“But they need better professional training to unlock their potential and make the most of their role which will benefit young people.”

Main image: Matt Brown.

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