Islington young offenders convicted of 130 crimes while getting council help

�Young criminals were convicted of 130 offences including violence, robbery and theft in one year while getting help from council staff, it has emerged.

The Islington Youth Offending Team, which helps young people who have committed criminal offences, is run by Islington Council officers with the police, probation service and NHS.

Between January 2010 and March 2011 there were 80 children in rehabilitation of whom 32 re-offended, the Gazette has learned through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The 32 juveniles were convicted of 130 individual offences which included 27 drug offences, 22 motoring offences, 27 thefts, nine robberies and 10 violent acts.

The team was criticised in a government inspection report published in September which found it below average in efforts to safeguard youngsters, protect the public and reduce re-offending risks.

Cllr Terry Stacy, Islington Liberal Democrats group leader, said: “The council has taken police away from schools and cut funding for policing while youth and serious crime are going up.

“Youth offending work has also come under fire. Labour promised to be tough on crime but so far they seem clueless.”

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The Islington Youth Offending team currently supervises 151 young people aged between 13 and 19.

Cllr Richard Watts, executive member for children and young people, said: “We’re tough on crime so it is good news the number of young people re-offending has fallen significantly, by 24 per cent in the last year.

“Crucially, our early prevention work with police is helping reduce the number of young people in the criminal justice system in the first place.

“Most young people did not go on to re-offend, which is thanks to our Youth Offending Service, but we will be tough with those that do.

“Every young person has support reflecting the offence, the needs of victims, and the community.”

Seven rioters arrested during the London Riots were receiving help with the youth offending team, according to the FoI request.