Teens say police contact and high aspirations will keep them on track

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Setting high aspirations for children’s education and involving the police more in schools have been cited as key in the fight to stop young people from breaking the law.

The recommendations come from 187 children and young people who are all either in care or in secure training centres.

They were interviewed as part of a new report looking at how we can stop underage criminality and help prevent young people from getting into trouble. 

Keeping Out of Trouble has been published by the children’s rights director for England, Roger Morgan, and pulls together the views expressed by the 187 across nine discussion groups.

When asked what would stop young people from breaking the law, the three top responses were more local activities and places to go, jobs for young people, and more government support.

The report comes at a time when government cuts to local authority and education budgets have led to the closure of many local youth services.

The children and young people said that people their age often broke the law because of peer pressure, not having any money and boredom. One young person said: “If we had better things to do we wouldn’t get into trouble.” 

Another said better local facilities and sports events at weekends and in evenings would help, especially when children get expelled from school. The young people discussed the crucial role that schools and colleges have in motivating them to have high aspirations and helping them to achieve them.

Two groups also talked about things the police could do and suggested getting officers more involved in activities with children and young people could help, as could visits to schools and children’s homes “to get themselves known and to teach children about safety and risks”.

You can read the report at www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/keeping-out-of-trouble


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