‘Unique’ Glasgow project to divert youth from serious organised crime gets funding boost
Glasgow City Council and the Big Lottery Fund will fund the ‘Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention Service’ for a further three years
Youth with graffiti - Image credit: Pixabay
A “unique” project in Glasgow that diverts young people away from a life in serious organised crime has been given a three-year funding boost by the Big Lottery Fund and Glasgow City Council.
Action for Children’s ‘Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention Service’ works with teenagers aged between 12 and 18 across Glasgow to prevent them getting involved in organised crime.
According to Action for Children, the project, delivered in partnership with Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, is the only one of its kind in the UK.
The project has been running in Glasgow since 2012 and has worked with around 50 young people to date.
A recent review found 71 per cent of young people who have used the service were kept out of secure care for at least six months during involvement with the programme – including a number deemed to be at high risk of entering secure care by the children’s panel.
Two-thirds of the youngsters involved in the project have made demonstrable improvements in their offending behaviour.
Police data for a sample of 22 young people supported by the service in 2015/16 showed a 31 per cent drop in the average monthly offending rates during intervention compared with the previous six months.
The same analysis also showed that by diverting ‘high risk’ young people from secure care, the project represented a saving of over half a million pounds for Glasgow City Council.
Paul Carberry, the charity’s director for Scotland, is a member of the Scottish Government’s ‘Serious Organised Crime Task Force’, where he chairs the ‘Divert’ strand, which aims to stop young people becoming involved in serious organised crime and using its products.
Carberry said: “Today’s funding announcement for our ‘Serious Organised Crime Intervention Service’ is a very important step in the continued efforts in Scotland to tackle serious organised crime.
“We are grateful to work in collaboration with partner agencies to tackle these types of crime, which blights communities across the city.
“In this way, Glasgow is leading the way in terms of proactive action to help tackle this harmful social problem, which has a significant cost implication.
He continued: “In my work at Action for Children Scotland, I see the impact of serious organised crime – families destroyed by substance abuse, parents indebted to loan sharks and housing schemes controlled by career criminals.
“It is largely hidden from mainstream society while having a disproportionately high effect on the most disadvantaged, marginalised communities in our country.
“In Glasgow, this service is turning lives around and having a long-term impact on communities across the city.
“We can all be very proud of this Scottish success story and everyone at Action for Children will work hard to maintain this success going forward.”
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This is a valuable project that is making a real difference to the lives of young people by diverting them from involvement in a range of criminal activity that could have a seriously detrimental effect on the rest of their lives.
“I am very pleased that the partners have been able to continue funding the project which also allows it to expand its services to support families.”
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