A plan to help make Bath and North East Somerset a safer place and support children to live crime-free lives is being considered by the authority’s cabinet this week.

The Youth Justice Plan for 2024-2026 outlines how services will be organised and funded to prevent youth offending and re-offending. Building on a more than 5 per cent reduction in reoffending from July 2021 to June 2022, the plan includes initiatives like Street Doctors' first aid training and four knife crime awareness events for parents and carers, with more events planned.

The plan has been developed by the Bath and North East Somerset Youth Justice Service (YJS), a statutory partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council, Avon and Somerset Police, the Probation Service and NHS Bath, Swindon, and Wiltshire (BSW) Integrated Care Board (ICB). The council is the lead partner.

The Youth Justice Plan 2024-2026 will go before cabinet on July 11 and proposes to:

  • Adopt a ‘Child First’ approach to address offending behaviour, offering individually-tailored assessments, plans and interventions that are trauma-informed and recognise the child’s needs

  • Reduce serious violence by continuing weapons awareness work with children, education in schools, Street Doctors sessions and targeted prevention services

  • Reduce the over-represented groups in B&NES who are in the YJS, such as children with Special Educational Needs and from minority ethnic backgrounds

  • Continue to ensure that children and their families are prepared for court and children are treated fairly, ensuring reports prepared for court reflect the impacts on the victims

  • Ensure the workforce delivering the plan have the right training and support to make a difference to the children they work with

Councillor Paul May, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The Youth Justice Team does incredible work ensuring that children and young people avoid custodial sentences and steer away from offending again.

“It’s encouraging that reoffending rates are decreased, however reducing serious violence and making Bath and North East Somerset a safer place remain a priority. Cabinet will consider the new Youth Justice Plan carefully to ensure it is a robust plan that will continue to support children to make positive changes and avoid committing further offences.”

If cabinet approves the plan, it will go before full council on July 18 before a final version is submitted to the national Youth Justice Board.

The cabinet meeting is on July 11 at 6.30pm. Watch the webcast or view the meeting on the council's YouTube channel