Re-of­fend­ing project to be taken out of coun­cil hands

Cynon Valley - - NEWS -

A PROJECT aimed at re­duc­ing re-of­fend­ing amongst 18-25 year olds in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tyd­fil will be taken out of coun­cil hands next year.

The Di­vert 18-25 project will no longer be co-or­di­nated by the coun­cil af­ter March next year fol­low­ing the South Wales po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner de­ci­sion to trans­fer it to either the third sec­tor or pri­vate sec­tor.

The project is fully funded by the com­mis­sioner but cur­rently man­aged by RCT’s com­mu­nity safety team across the Cwm Taf area.

It was launched in April 2016 with two RCT coun­cil em­ployed co-or­di­na­tors work­ing across Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tyd­fil fo­cus­ing on first time of­fend­ers.

Mem­bers of RCT coun­cil’s pub­lic ser­vices de­liv­ery, com­mu­ni­ties and pros­per­ity crime and disor­der com­mit­tee heard that there is strong ev­i­dence na­tion­ally that 1825 year olds are re­spon­si­ble a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of crime.

But Gary Black, the com­mu­nity safety man­ager at Rhondda Cynon Taf coun­cil, told the comit­tee that from April next year the ser­vice will be pro­vided across the South Wales and Gwent force ar­eas by a third sec­tor or pri­vate com­pany.

Coun­cil­lor Steven Brad­wick, the chair­man of the com­mit­tee, sug­gested that they write to the po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner about the de­ci­sion.

Cabi­net mem­ber for stronger com­mu­ni­ties, well-be­ing and cul­tural ser­vices Coun­cil­lor Rhys Lewis was in at­ten­dance at the meet­ing and of­fered to write to Alun Michael urg­ing him to re­think the move adding that he sus­pected the de­ci­sion was a fi­nan­cial one.

Re­search for the project back in 2014 into the 29 per cent of all de­tected of­fences com­mit­ted were com­mit­ted by the 18-25 age group.

The scheme is open to those aged 18-25, res­i­dent of RCT or Merthyr, on a first or low level of­fence who’ve ad­mit­ted guilt or with no pre­vi­ous re­fer­ral to Di­vert.

There is a vol­un­tary re­fer­ral at the point of cus­tody and, af­ter as­sess­ment, the young per­son takes part in work­shops to ed­u­cate them about the con­se­quences of crime.

If they suc­cess­fully com­plete this, they get an “out of court dis­posal” for their of­fences.

Dur­ing the first two years of im­ple­men­ta­tion 2016/17 and 2017/18, 194 young adults were ac­cepted onto the project at the point of as­sess­ment, with 36 work­shops be­ing held.

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