|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review the adequacy of the security checks which members of the Witness Service are obliged to undergo on entering court buildings; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: A persistent young offender is a young person aged 10-17 who has been sentenced by any criminal court in the UK on three or more separate occasions for one or more recordable offence, and within three years of the last sentencing occasion is subsequently arrested or has an information laid against them for a further recordable offence.
Overall timeliness statistics and caseloads counts on Persistent Young Offenders (PYOs) are available from 1997 to 2007. These statistics are used to monitor the pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for dealing with PYOs in England and Wales from 142 days in 1996 to 71 days.
Counts of offenders split by the Criminal Justice System (CIS) areas of the sentencing court are not readily available. Instead, the following table presents figures split by the CIS areas where offenders were first arrested or reported. This is because local area figures are most accurately derived from the Police National Computer on this basis.
The following table shows the number of PYOs assigned to the police forces in 1997 and 2007. The increase in the number of PYO convictions is broadly consistent with the increase we have seen in recent years in the number of all offences brought to justice. In the year to September 2007 there were 1.44 million offences brought to justicean increase of 44 per cent. on 2001-02. This reflects improvements in the performance of the CJS, rather than an increase in the level of crime. Recorded crime has been falling since 2003-04. The increase in those meeting the PYO definition is partly a consequence of improvements in the timeliness of dealing with such offenders.
The definition of a PYO relies on counting successive sentencing occasions for a single offender during a limited time period. Speedier operation of the youth justice system has markedly reduced the average time taken from arrest to sentence, and as a result the number of offenders who fall within scope of the PYO definition has increased. This was a particular issue from 1997 to 2002, the period during which these timeliness improvements were taking effect.
|Statistics on persistent young offenders (PYOs) by criminal justice areas, 1997-2007|
|Number of PYOs||Arrest to sentence interval (days)|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|